Josh Kendall

The Big Question starts getting answered for South Carolina on Saturday

Five questions with USC quarterback Jake Bentley

South Carolina sophomore QB Jake Bentley talks on a variety of topics, including how he leads others even as a younger player.
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South Carolina sophomore QB Jake Bentley talks on a variety of topics, including how he leads others even as a younger player.

The Question starts getting answered Saturday.

It’s game week for South Carolina football, and the “The Question” in this case is, “Now that Will Muschamp has a quarterback, what kind of team will he have?”

“That was the thing at Florida was, OK if this guy ever gets a quarterback, the way his defenses play, they are going to be tough to stop,” Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples said. “Well, he never found that quarterback at Florida. He’s found that quarterback now.

“All us who watch it are assuming that he will make the defense very good because it hasn’t really ever seemed to matter where he is, he gets players and develops them. He doesn’t have to get a bunch of five-stars to be good on defense. He has made every defense he’s ever coached good.

“The fact that they have the quarterback and that part is not an issue for at least two years, I think that’s really exciting for South Carolina because his history tells us the defense is going to be good. You give that defense a complementary offense and that’s a team that maybe not this year but maybe the next couple years can compete for the East title.”

The quarterback now is Jake Bentley, the sophomore who will make his eighth career start Saturday at 3 p.m. in Bank of America Stadium against N.C. State. The Gamecocks are expected to have a potent offense powered by Bentley but have question marks on defense, the side of the ball on which Muschamp always seems to find a way to figure out something that works. If he can do that again, South Carolina could be on to something by the end of this season.

Starting Saturday, we’ll learn what the beginning of the process looks like. It won’t be the final answer and partial credit can be given at this stage of the process as Muschamp will be coaching his 14th game with a program that had reached a very low point before his arrival, but what happens in Charlotte, N.C., definitely has to be considered part of the answer.

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