COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - In seven games, Jake Bentley got a chance to show Gamecock Nation that he could lead the offense and put points on the board.
In his second year at the signal caller for the Garnet and Black, the sophomore is showing signs of growth.
"I think that he had a really good offseason program before we started spring ball," said Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp, "and then you see the progression in spring. The more and more that Coach Roper and our offensive staff continued to give him, the better and better he continued to perform and improve. He's in the building all the time watching tape. He's hanging out with the offensive line. He's hanging out with the defensive line. He's hanging out with the secondary guys. He understands what it takes to be the quarterback."
Bentley threw for 1,420 yards last season in seven games while completing 65.8 percent of his passes. How, he'll have a chance to improve on those numbers with a little more freedom to make calls at the line of scrimmage.
"Well, there's no question that we give him a lot of latitude at the line of scrimmage based if we have a run to a run or a run to a pass or a pass to a run built in with that to get us to the best situation," Muschamp said. "I think that you'll see more of that opposed to tempo. Obviously, we want to be able to dictate the tempo of the game, but to have that luxury at the quarterback position certainly helps but also the experience around him."
While leadership is a key quality many teams look for in their quarterback, the Gamecocks will tell you that they believe Bentley possesses many qualities of a good leader and Bentley hopes to build on those qualities based on what he's learned in the offseason at the Manning Camp.
"The biggest thing is leadership," Bentley said. "Got to talk with Peyton and Eli just asking them how they dealt with tough situations during the game, how they handled receivers if a receiver didn't show up for a workout, how they handled that, and just learning different tips from them and learning from guys around the country."
But Bentley said he's ready to focus on the upcoming season. In fact, he's already shut down his Twitter account.
"It's just a way to lock in and not worry about anything else but football and what we have to do to be successful," Bentley said. "You're not worried about what anyone says or anybody's thoughts or opinions because the only thing that matters are teammates or coaches. So, (it's) just to be able to lock in and focus on the season."
Bentley and the Gamecocks will take on North Carolina State on Sept.2 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.