Carolina’s passing attack — new and improved, or just new?

Barrett Sallee writes one of those “I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin'” pieces about South Carolina’s chances this season.  This is a pretty dynamic flag to plant:

Samuel’s return to the Gamecocks offense would be comparable to Julio Jones returning to Alabama or A.J. Green coming back to Georgia. Yes, he’s that big.

Well, now.

Will Samuel’s return have a major impact on Bentley’s performance?  Count Sallee as being in the hell, yeah camp on that.

Drew Lock, Jarrett Stidham and the Alabama quarterback situation have dominated headlines at the most important position on the football field, but South Carolina’s Jake Bentley is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the conference. He threw 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions in the first two months of last season, before injuries all over the offense limited his options and teams loaded up to stop star receiver Bryan Edwards. It was during that time that Samuel’s absence was felt most.

Bentley has the ability to stretch the field deep and will have the new offense built around what he’s most comfortable with now that McClendon is running the show.

From what I saw of South Carolina’s spring game, I do think the new offense will benefit his play.  But let’s not go too overboard here.  Take a look at Bentley’s stats from last season.  His passer rating was remarkably consistent, even if not at a particularly high level.  He was under 100 only once, but never exceeded 150 all season, with and without Samuel.

Bentley was second in the conference in pass attempts, but finished seventh in passer rating, in large part because of a relatively low yards per attempt figure and a relatively high number of interceptions.  It’s reasonable to think Samuel’s return would boost the ypa number, but Bentley’s turnovers are something he’ll have to fix himself.

In the end, I’m still a little skeptical, because, after all, it’s a new offensive scheme with a rookie offensive coordinator that’ll provide the framework for Bentley’s game this season.  And while I have no doubt Samuel’s return is a big plus, let’s not forget that the ‘Cocks have to replace Hurst’s production at the tight end spot.  Most relevantly, those are a lot of moving parts to have to fit together by the season’s second week.

26 Comments

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26 responses to “Carolina’s passing attack — new and improved, or just new?

  1. 81Dog

    So…… All the Chikins replacements/changes/questions are magically assumed to be resolved in the best possible way, simultaneously, at a place that has never seen anything like that sort of harmonic convergence, ever, while coached by a guy who has never had anything resembling that kind of success. Boom couldn’t win at FLORIDA, but he’s going to win big at the place Spurrier couldn’t win big.

    UGA, on the other hand, is assumed to be a shambles because all its replacements/changes/questions won’t be resolved in a successful way, and the staff that just steered it to an SEC title and almost an NC won’t be able to figure out how to overcome Sandstorm on a hot day.

    Sounds like a solid analysis to me.

    Like

    • Saxondawg

      I tried really, really hard, and couldn’t get myself spooked by the phrase “now that McLendon’s running the show.”

      Like

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    OTOH there’s frequently an SC player or two with a chip on the shoulder who has a career game against us. They don’t go away easily.

    Like

  3. Cojones

    Screw’em, let’s play and not necessarily in that order.

    Like

  4. Mayor

    I guess Georgia’s D will just be standing around watching? I’ll believe The South Carolina hype when I see it.

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  5. Dawg1

    Remember when new coach Smart messed up the clock situation at SC at the half, or Richt v Auburn on the goal line, etc.

    Well, I love McClendon, but a new OC under game stress with apparently the season on the line in week 2, trying to go ultra fast, isn’t a recipe for success.

    As an aside, I also feel truly sorry for Lock having to break in SOD.

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  6. ASEF

    Which narrative is preferable:

    “Georgia’s only SEC competition will be their crossover games with the West.”

    “Hey, that SC team could do some things!”

    After SC does not do some things, the “Hey, _____ could do some things!” narrative mantle moves to Missouri. Then Florida. Sorry, Tennessee. Your destruction at the hands of WVU renders you useless for this purpose.

    Like

  7. Bulldog Joe

    Let’s not look past Austin Nicholls State Peay, yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t see why it’s not plausible that Samuel is a huge impact player and addition to their offense and it still not improving their team by much.

    They still don’t have an OL nor any RBs and they lost their main passing target in that TE that’s gone.

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  9. JCDawg83

    SANDSTORM!!!!!!!!!!!

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  10. AusDawg85

    Have you seen their long snappah?! Kid is deadly accurate. We have no chance.

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  11. Otto

    It will be interesting to see just how fast SC goes and how they call their offense against their cupcake. I don’t think they’ll be Oregon type speed but use it somewhat like Gus does. If something worked run another play very quickly or if you think you have a personnel mismatch. If you can’t match up every play then you have to do something.

    I think it will be about a score and a half game for much of the game. UGA misses some opportunities and/or turns the ball over. I’d love to see another long drive late to ice the game.

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  12. Russ

    Samuels being healthy is big for them. Don’t know how he is as a receiver, but his return game was certainly strong. I suspect he’ll get lots of chances for returns against us, unless Hot Rod is just blasting it through the endzone.

    Like

    • Khari Vion Jr.

      He is a good receiver, but the only 2 SEC schools he has gone over 100 yards receiving against in his career are Missouri and Kentucky. So, I think the AJ Green and Julio Jones comparisons are a bit much.

      Like

  13. Uglydawg

    He will make them better. South Carolina has a good team that will be a threat if they play at their highest potential. That’s not an easy thing to do in your first real test of a new season and playing against what is undoubtedly a
    more talented Georgia team that is deep. Georgia will most likely not have to get fancy, use gimmicks (like the onside kick last year) or take risks to stay in this game. (But remember that first flea-flicker against MST…That was a low risk trick play that worked out well….I think Boom & Co. will have something like that built in to try and grab the early momentum. Stopping their first drive will be very crucial to taking their hopes away and shutting that rooster and crowd the hell up)
    Bottom line, we’ve got to go and beat them..the speculation, hype and drama will continue until the task is complete…hopefully by no later than the start of the fourth quarter.
    But Usce is not playing the role of cupcake..they will be ready, willing and somewhat but not very able to overwhelm the Dawgs with emotion and super-hyped up play.
    Meanwhile, the Austin P coach is showing his team film of App St. and Michigan. (had to throw that in for the sake of tradition.: ” App St. beat M” will always be a cause for us old Munsonites..even when it’s contrived)

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  14. D.N. Nation

    “A.J. Green coming back to Georgia. Yes, he’s that big.”

    AJ’s first game back in 2010, Georgia lost to Colorado. Jes sayin’.

    Like

    • Uglydawg

      Julio back to ‘Bama? That’s a little much.
      BTW..UGA’s got some talent at WR that is under the radar..And Usce defensive backs are going to be a broken and bruised bunch when Mr. Holyfield gets through pummeling them.

      Like

  15. Cojones

    Maybe we should begin talking up this game, make it bigger than life, then get the powers that be to rank SC up there where we get a reward for shucking their corn at home by beating a suddenly ranked team.

    All hail So Car.!

    Like

    • JCDawg83

      They’ll be ranked when we get them. Someone in the top 25 will lose unexpectedly and they are 26th. CBS will push to get them ranked so they can advertise a matchup of top 25 teams. I look for them to be around 23rd when we get there.

      Like

  16. Deebo is a deep throat and SCU’s OL is mediocre at best. With that said, I don’t see Bentley having a ton of time to sit back and get him the ball down the field. Bentley also had one if the worst under pressure QB ratings last year, and he no longer has Hurst as his release valve when OL protection breaks down.

    Overall, I find it ironic that a team that lost as many starters as UGA, who are replacing said starters with far less talented ones AND have a new OC who has never served in such a role previously, suddenly are in a position of strength while UGA is ripe for the taking. Oh, not to mention SCU’s +11 TO margin last year with something like 5 wins coming by 6 points or less.

    Dawgs roll week 2.

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  17. I don’t understand the people who are practically guaranteeing this game will be an upset, but I also don’t understand the people who think we’re gonna go in there and whip them. We only beat them by 14 in our own house last year, it’s not unreasonable to expect them to be an even more difficult out at their own stadium. I do think in the end, our OL will be too much for them and we’ll wear them down in the 4th, but I think it’s gonna be one heck of a game. They’re not as talented as us overall but they are talented enough to make us sweat, especially if a break or two goes their way.

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  18. W Cobb Dawg

    BMac may be a rookie OC, but he has Dan Werner at his side. And Werner ain’t no slouch. I could see Bentley improving quite a bit under Werner’s tutelage as well.

    Having said that, the Dawgs are obviously the superior team, whether its size/speed/talent, experience, coaching, etc.

    Like

  19. HiAltDawg

    Everyone beware: Kirbs has never beaten so car without a true Freshman starting at QB!

    Like

  20. UGA '97

    Bentley still was top 4 in the SEC in passing TDs, tied with Stidham last year. Gonna need those LBs/DBs to grow up fast Kirby & Co

    Like