Josh Kendall

Bentley’s play deserves praise but timing’s been great too

Jake Bentley has been great on the field, but let’s not forget that he’s had great timing.

South Carolina’s freshman quarterback is averaging 184 passing yards in his two starts. He has completed 69.6 percent of his passes and thrown four touchdown passes and most impressively, he has not turned the ball over once. All of that is to his great credit, however let’s not overlook the role of some other roster changes on the Gamecocks success.

Bentley insertion in the lineup coincided with the healthy return of wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards from hamstring injuries and the emergence of freshman running back Rico Dowdle.

In Bentley’s two starts, Samuel has 16 catches and 189 yards. That has something to do with Bentley’s ability to get him the ball, but it also has a lot to do with Samuel’s healthy hamstrings.

In the same span, Dowdle has 43 carries for 214 yards. We can have the chicken versus the egg argument all day long about whether Dowdle’s ability has done more to open up the passing game or an improved passing game has done more to open up running lanes, but most college coaches will tell you that it’s the run game that has to come first in that equation.

None of this argument is meant to dampen any praise directed toward Bentley, simply to point out that it should be spread to several spots in the lineup.