South Carolina scored 27 points in the first half against Ole Miss last week, matching their total points from the previous four first halves. There are plenty of theories about why, most importantly that the Rebels have the worst defense in the SEC.
Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley thinks there is an overlooked reason.
It has to do with South Carolina’s opening script of plays that it takes into every game. During the week, Gamecocks offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon decides on the first eight play calls he will make to start the game barring an unforeseen situation regarding field position or down and distance.
“If it gets to third-and-10, coach will go to his third down call, but if we’re moving the ball and getting first downs, he’ll stay along that script until we get down in the tight red zone,” Bentley said. “It’s just plays that we feel really good about based on film work, based on what looked good during the week. We want to get those called first knowing that we want to start the game off fast.”
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The reason Bentley thinks the script was more effective against the Rebels is that McClendon has come to the players for more suggestions of late.
“That’s one thing that has increased these past few weeks is that just input from a lot of guys on the team,” Bentley said. “He’s going to (wide receivers) Deebo (Samuel), Bryan (Edwards), Shi (Smith), just asking them what they like, and I think it’s worked out really well for us.”
The Gamecocks, who finalize their script on Thursdays, are fifth in the SEC in scoring (31 ppg) and seventh in the conference in yards (413.8 per game).
The offensive confidence “is very high,” Bentley said. “A lot of guys are making a lot of plays. There are a lot of guys who are stepping up. There are a lot of ways to attack a defense. A lot of guys see the talent that we have.”