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Outback Bowl Football

South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley runs for yardage against Michigan during the second half of the Outback Bowl on Monday in Tampa, Fla. South Carolina won the game 26-19.

COLUMBIA -- Bryan McClendon likes to give his offense at-bats.

He wants an up-tempo offense in his first year as full-time offensive coordinator, running as many plays as possible to give the Gamecocks a chance to score points.

So far, his starting quarterback likes it.

“We need to use every advantage we can,” Jake Bentley said. “The defense can move around before the play and we can’t. They can do so much other stuff we can’t, so we have to use the advantage we can and that’s tempo.”

McClendon is spending this spring working on installing his new playbook as the team’s only offensive coordinator.

He’s working on building that fast-paced team in practice now. The team usually runs a tempo period but “every period is pretty fast-tempo,” Bentley said.

It’s a scheme that he likes and is eager to put on the field, saying it’s a lot of the same concepts as last year’s offense with new tweaks and merging of different ideas.

One idea that was used but maybe not to the full effect was the RPO, or run-pass option, but that will change.

New quarterbacks coach Dan Werner is spending this spring working on teaching and developing an RPO-based attack built on one-on-one matchups outside with receivers.

Werner spent his entire career developing that system, taking it to places like Miami and Ole Miss with success at each stop.

Now he'll try to do the same at South Carolina.

“That’s been his big thing this year coming in is dissecting the RPO and learning the ins and outs of everything of when to throw it and when to hand it off,” Bentley said. “Getting to pick his brain in that aspect has been great.”

Werner stepped in as quarterbacks coach after helping Alabama win a national title as an off-the-field analyst.

He arrived in Columbia a few days after the win and has been full-steam ahead ever since.

He’s gotten to spend a few hours a week with his quarterback group through offseason workouts, but this spring is the first extended interaction they’ve been able to have with Werner and his coaching style.

Right now Bentley likes the way he’s learning the new offense.

“It’s been great. It’s always great to have a different way of saying things almost,” Bentley said. “It may be the same teaching point but a different way Coach Werner says it. It hits a different way and you understand it a little better.”


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