South Carolina worked through its second scrimmage of the spring Saturday morning in a closed workout at Williams-Brice Stadium that left head coach Will Muschamp impressed with the play of his quarterbacks.
That's no surprise as returning starter Jake Bentley has had, by all indications, a strong offseason as he looks to build on his seven freshman starts last season.
"I thought Jake threw the ball extremely well today," Muschamp said. "Very accurate in his throws, especially in the third down period I thought looked really sharp directing our offense."
Now in his second year in co-offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's scheme, Bentley and the rest of his teammates have a better feel for the offense and all of the moving pieces within it.
That gives Bentley more of an opportunity to be a coach on the field, Muschamp says.
“I don’t know that I would say vocal, I would say more direction of getting guys aligned, showing guys where the hots are, making sure the protection is set, change the protection, changing the run," Muschamp said. "I think there’s a quiet confidence in himself which helps our team and helps some of our younger players especially, to understand that this guy understands what we’re trying to do.”
While Bentley is a proven commodity who should be considered one of the conference's best returning signal-callers, there are plenty of questions behind the sophomore, especially given the transfer of Brandon McIlwain.
Redshirt junior Michael Scarnecchia is the Gamecocks only other scholarship quarterback this spring and he's battling it out with walk-ons Danny Gordon and Bailey Hart before freshman Jay Urich arrives this summer.
"I think Michael has done some nice things," Muschamp said Saturday when asked about his other quarterbacks. "I think Michael has arm talent. He’s got to continue to play as fast as the game is going. And that’s a problem because Mike’s been out so long. He hasn’t taken a bunch of snaps. That’s not his fault. He continues to improve and get better.”
Improvement is indeed the name of the game in the spring and Muschamp feels he's seen it in most of his team as Carolina eases towards the close of practice with the spring game next Saturday.
“Our guys did a good job today," Muschamp said. "We approached it well. We did some situational work and then we did some move the ball. We did a one-minute (drill), third down, and some red zone work, just continuing to introduce situations to our team. I think our guys have responded pretty well to what we’ve done. I’ve been pretty pleased. We’ve made some good strides in my opinion, but still have a ways to go.”
The Garnet and Black spring game kicks off at 2:00 on Saturday April 1 at Williams-Brice Stadium. It is open to the public and free.
"Sadarius Hutcherson might have gotten an ankle right there at the end. He was limping off. I’ll know more next week on that. ... Bryan Edwards is doing well. He looked really good today. He’s still in a non-contact jersey but made a couple really nice third-down catches."