Cockaboose wrote a piece earlier about whether it’s wise to burn Jake Bentley’s redshirt to get him the start against UMass in wake of the Gamecocks’, well, offensive offense. (Spoiler alert: he thinks it’s a good idea) By all accounts, Will Muschamp hasn’t tipped his hand either way, but his non-answer (“We’ll see on Saturday”) kind of gives you a sense of the direction he’s going in.
JC Shurburtt over at TheBigSpur had a similar piece in the wake of the whole quarterback “controversy”, if we can call it that. It was in regards to Brandon McIlwain and how the staff shouldn’t give up on him, even with his struggles:
The struggles that McIlwain had, though, are more related to his inexperience than any type of talent deficiency. He couldn’t throw the ball down the field very well. That doesn’t mean he can’t fine tune his accuracy and ability to execute as he does have the arm strength to get that done. He looked slow at times running the football, but that is a trademark of a young player being indecisive, which is facilitated by inexperience. He also did not have a very strong supporting cast as South Carolina has struggled at every position on offense this season with the exception of the tight ends in the passing game...
The bottom line is that this is a player, just like most true freshmen, whose best days on the football field are ahead of him. Always remember that football is a developmental sport, especially at quarterback. Just as true freshman typically struggle at the position, players typically get better over time. There is no reason to write him off as a player either now or in the future at South Carolina, regardless of what happens Saturday.
For the most part, Shurburtt received some good feedback for his work, but there was one reader in particular who didn’t like it one bit. Let’s just say she’s got some skin in the game.
Brandon McIlwain's mother had an interesting Facebook post today. pic.twitter.com/whdnWh7dEL— SportsTalk (@sportstalksc) October 18, 2016
In some regard, you can see Lena McIlwain’s point of view. She doesn’t feel that her son has given all the tools he’s needed to succeed - and that’s accurate from the standpoint that Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards haven’t been healthy this season. And it will be difficult to tell much from a strong performance against an underacheiving FBS program. If Bentley throws for 300+ yards and three touchdowns against a defense ranked near the bottom in FBS in pass defense, I wouldn’t be prepared to anoint him the next Connor Shaw or Todd Ellis.
On the other side of the coin, if the staff feels that Bentley is the better option right now, then they have every right to ride that wave. Will Muschamp’s getting paid to make the tough decisions, and this just happens to be one of them. If Lena McIlwain (and I say this with all due respect) isn’t fond of the move for whatever reason, that’s simply on her to move past it, regardless of whether or not it’s the coach’s kid getting the call or not.
That’s just my two cents. Let me hear yours.