Jake Bentley talks about his final spring practices, updates his progress
South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley comes into the fall as the most experienced quarterback in the Southeastern Conference.
And former Auburn coach Gene Chizik thinks he is in line for another step forward.
Chizik was speaking with Jordan Rodgers and Dari Nowkhah on SEC Network as part of its coverage of SEC Media Days on Monday. The trio ran through with their thoughts on every passer in the SEC, and Chizik had some big expectations for Bentley.
“It’s time; it’s time for him,” Chizik said. “Take a step up. He’s got to take a step up. Look. It’s the deepest offensive line he’s had. He’s got skill position players back, starting with Bryan Edwards. it’s time for him to get a nine or 10-win season again. Nine two years ago. It’s time for 10.”
Bentley is a veteran of 32 starts and currently ranks 37th in pass attempts in SEC history. Assuming good health, he could get into the top 10 all-time.
He’s coming off a 3,100-yard passing season, and with more than 7,000 yards through the air, is within striking distance of the program record for yards.
But getting to that nine- or 10-win mark will be a tall order. South Carolina will face the three top teams in most preseason polls in Georgia, Alabama and Clemson. That’s to say nothing of Texas A&M, Florida or the likes of Kentucky and Missouri.
Chizik possesses one of the more unusual resumes in college football coaching. He went from successful stints as Texas and Auburn defensive coordinators to a 5-19 record at Iowa State to a 33-19 run at Auburn that included the 2010 national title.
Auburn fired him two seasons after the title. He went to North Carolina, improved the Tar Heel defense and then left coaching altogether to spend time with his family.
Bentley also has ties to Auburn, as his father, Bobby, spent two years as an analyst for Gus Malzahn, Chizik’s former offensive coordinator. Jake Bentley lived in the Auburn area those years, and Bobby Bentley was in the mix to return to the Plains as offensive coordinator this offseason.