South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp announced Tuesday that junior quarterback Jake Bentley is returning to the starting lineup after missing one game due to a knee sprain. Muschamp also explained his reasoning for going with Bentley over Michael Scarnecchia, who had 249 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in place of Bentley last week. Here’s everything Muschamp said about his quarterbacks during his Tuesday news conference:
“Jake practiced today and I thought he looked good. If he is healthy for Saturday, he will be the starter. I told Jake and Mike that both of them need to be ready to go. We have two guys we can win with and that’s good to have.”
Will it take until game time to make the final decision?
“No, I think it will be determined before that. He looked good today. I think he is going to be fine and at the end of the day, we will continue to look at some mobility things tomorrow. I am never going to put a young man in a situation where he can’t protect himself and he couldn’t on Saturday. Mike performed really well and a guy that we had a lot of confidence in going into the game and even more so afterward. At the end of the day, we will make decisions in the game to win the game.”
Why is Bentley starting ahead of Scarnecchia?
“He has played a lot of really good football for us and he’s got a lot of experience. I think he has played really well. Obviously, Mike has a smaller sample set, played well with his opportunity. I’m making the decision that helps us win and at the end of the day, that’s what we’re going to do. We’ve got two guys that have confidence that we can win with. I feel comfortable with both guys.”
How do they compare as players?
“Well, I think they’ve very similar players. I think you look at, as far as calling a game and what we carry into a game, they’re very similar as far as those things are concerned. But I don’t know when you evaluate that if you can take experience out of it. You can’t take experience out of it. You can’t. That’s part of it.”
Do you have more confidence in Scarnecchia now?
“I would more, just from a standpoint of, we felt like he was going to play well. And, certainly under the circumstances which no one could have predicted or thought of, he played extremely well. Going through the weather and all of the other issues we had coming down to a one-minute drive to win the game, so there’s no question. But you never know until you see a guy do it. You either feel really comfortable about the situation or you might be a little bit unsure, but I was never unsure about how Michael was going to perform.”
Are you more likely to turn to Scarnecchia now if Bentley isn’t playing well?
“We’re going to make decisions to win the game.”