Josh Kendall

Jake Bentley’s busy summer takes him to top of athletics department

South Carolina’s starting quarterback has a new job this month. Junior Jake Bentley is serving as the Gamecocks interim athletics director while full-time athletics director Ray Tanner is in Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series.

At least that’s how Bentley sees it, he joked with Paul Finebaum on Finebaum’s radio show Thursday afternoon.

“I guess I’m taking over the athletic department for a few days for him,” said Bentley, who is serving an internship in Tanner’s office this month. “I think I’m just going to leave it alone, make sure things don’t fall apart until Coach Tanner gets back.”

It’s been a busy month for Bentley, who will return this fall after starting 20 consecutive games and throwing for 4,214 yards, 27 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in the last two seasons. Bentley just completed his stint as a counselor at the prestigious Manning Passing Academy, where he befriended Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm and Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

“We are so close because you really go through the same issues and the same experience during your college career,” Bentley told Finebaum. “There are a lot of things we can relate to.”

The college quarterbacks at the event worked with brothers Peyton and Eli Manning and also coached their own groups of high school and youth players. Bentley’s team was 3-0 in 7-on-7 competition, he said.

“I guess you can call us the Manning Passing Academy 7-on-7 champs,” he said.

Finebaum attempted to get Bentley talking about South Carolina’s Week 2 matchup against Fromm’s Bulldogs, but Bentley wouldn’t bite.

“Whether we go 2-0 to start the season or whatever, we have to keep playing,” he said. “There are going to be 10 other games after those first two. Definitely got to start off strong and see where it can take us.”

Bentley did heap praise on Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp when asked.

“He’s really just a player’s coach,” Bentley said. “You can ask any guy on our team and they really love Coach Muschamp. He always has our best interests in mind. He challenges us, but he’s definitely a coach that cares for us and wants the best for us.”