Will Muschamp

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Injury rumors swirling about South Carolina QB Jake Bentley

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Everybody in the South Carolina media circle seems to have an idea of what the immediate future holds for Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley. After getting roughed up a bit by UNC in Saturday’s season-opening loss to the Tar Heels in Charlotte, Bentley will reportedly be set to miss some playing time in the coming weeks. The length of the possible missed time is unconfirmed at this time, although one report notes Bentley will be out for the next six weeks.

According to Mike Uva of WACH, Bentley will be out for the next six weeks with a broken foot. Backup quarterback Ryan Hilinski would then be elevated to the starting job in Bentley’s absence if that is indeed the situation in Columbia.

It should be noted that South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp will address the media on Tuesday, as per the regular season media availability schedule. It should be expected Bentley’s status will be addressed formally at that time.

If Bentley needs time off, this week is a good week to give the starter a rest regardless of the situation. South Carolina hosts Charleston Southern, an FCS program, in their home opener this weekend. That should be a game that South Carolina can win with a third or fourth-string walk-on quarterback, so resting Bentley is not a bad idea. But if he does need to miss extended playing time, freshman Hilinski could be stepping into a golden opportunity to create a bit of quarterback controversy. If Bentley is out for a max of six weeks, Hilinski would be slotted as the starter for games against Charleston Southern, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, and Georgia. Bentley could then return for a home game against Florida if he is deemed ready after six weeks off.

We’ll see what Muschamp has to say tomorrow, if not before.

SEC rolls out four-day summer media day schedule

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Once again, the SEC will be masters of media day coverage in the middle of the summer with a four-day media day extravaganza. This year, the SEC is returning to Birmingham, Alabama. The SEC distributed updated details about this year’s media day event including what schools and coaches will be speaking on what day.

The SEC will open up the 2019 media day fun on Monday, July 15 from the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – Wynfrey Hotel. Television coverage of the event will be available through the SEC Network as well as ESPN over the course of the four days.

The exact order of what coaches will be speaking at what times will be hashed out later on, but Florida’s Dan Mullen, LSU’s Ed Orgeron, and Missouri’s Barry Odom will be featured on Day 1 on Monday, July 15. Day 2 will feature Kirby Smart of Georgia, Matt Luke of Ole Miss, Jeremy Pruitt of Tennessee, and Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M. Alabama’s Nick Saban will highlight the festivities on Day 3, with Chad Morris of Arkansas, Joe Moorhead of Mississippi State and Will Muschamp of South Carolina also getting their time in front of the microphone. Day 4 will wrap things up with Gus Malzahn of Auburn, Mark Stoops of Kentucky, and Derek Mason of Vanderbilt.

Here is the full SEC Media Day schedule, for those planning ahead.

2019 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS SCHEDULE

MONDAY, July 15
Florida – Dan Mullen
LSU – Ed Orgeron
Missouri – Barry Odom

TUESDAY, July 16
Georgia – Kirby Smart
Ole Miss – Matt Luke
Tennessee – Jeremy Pruitt
Texas A&M – Jimbo Fisher

WEDNESDAY, July 17
Alabama – Nick Saban
Arkansas – Chad Morris
Mississippi State – Joe Moorhead
South Carolina – Will Muschamp

THURSDAY, July 18
Auburn – Gus Malzahn
Kentucky – Mark Stoops
Vanderbilt – Derek Mason

While the SEC media days are going on, the ACC will also be holding their media day event in Charlotte, North Carolina. The ACC media day runs from July 16 through July 18.

Defensive lineman Josh Belk leaves South Carolina football amid injury concern

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South Carolina defensive lineman Josh Belk is walking away from South Carolina, and could potentially be leaving the football field entirely due to concerns about his health moving forward. Belk was originally reported to no longer be with the South Carolina football program as of Wednesday afternoon, and a follow-up to that story noted it may be injury-related. Belk may have confirmed as much with a brief message on his Twitter account as well.

Belk later issued a statement that was relayed first by Vizor Carolina via Twitter (Belk then retweeted it from his own account);

“I fractured a vertebrae and decided to choose another path in life,” Belk is quoting to say. “One that won’t potentially mess me up in the long run with injuries and all. Been praying and this is what God has led me to.”

“After talking with Josh Belk, he has decided to give up the game,” South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said in a released statement. “He is a fine young man and we wish him the best.”

As reported by The State, Belk had an MRI recently and the results may have been severe enough to force him to make a difficult decision (or perhaps it was an easy decision). For now, Belk will focus on making the decisions that are best for him moving forward, while South Carolina will look to start up the spring knowing they are down one defensive lineman that could have played a significant role in the trenches this fall.

Belk, a former five-star recruit out of high school, appeared in six games for the Gamecocks last season after receiving approval for a waiver for immediate eligibility following his transfer from Clemson. Belk was a member of Clemson’s Class of 2018. He enrolled early and transferred after Clemson’s spring football practices, but was allowed to be eligible to play right away at South Carolina last fall rather than having to sit out a season.

South Carolina loses pair of safeties to season-ending injuries

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South Carolina’s defensive secondary will be a bit thinner this week after the loss of two players to season-ending injuries. South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp announced on Sunday the Gamecocks have lost safeties Jamyest Williams and Javon Charleston for the remainder of the season due to injury.

Williams, a sophomore, is out with a shoulder surgery. Charleston, a redshirt junior, is out with a foot injury. Both players will undergo surgery this week to address their respective injuries.

Williams injured his shoulder two weeks ago in a game against Tennessee and played through the injury against Ole Miss over the weekend. After making four tackles against the Rebels, shutting things down for the year was apparently in the best interest for his health going forward and gives him plenty of time to be in the best shape possible for the 2019 season. There was no indication on what this shoulder surgery would mean for his offseason plans ahead of spring practices and off-season conditioning.

Charleston was reinstated at the start of the season after an offseason arrest for an alleged assault and battery and following through on a pretrial intervention program as a first-time offender. Despite previously being considered a candidate to be a starting safety, Charleston has largely been a contributor on special teams this season with eight total tackles.

UPDATE: South Carolina fifth-year senior QB Scarnecchia to make first career start

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UPDATED 10/6 at 11:56 a.m. ET: South Carolina has confirmed that Michael Scarnecchia will make his first career start today against Missouri.  Injured starter Jake Bentley will be available if needed.

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With South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley continues to work his way back to full strength, multiple reports are saying the Gamecocks will use Michael Scarnecchia as a starter this weekend against Missouri. The decision will reportedly be made official just before kickoff according to head coach Will Muschamp. Scarnecchia, a fifth-year senior, has never started a game in his college football career.

Bentley was roughed up against Kentucky last week, a 24-10 loss for the Gamecocks against the Wildcats to fell to 1-2 in SEC play. Scarnecchia reportedly received the bulk of the first-team snaps in practice this week, certainly suggesting South Carolina has been preparing the seldom-used quarterback for the chance to start against Missouri in a key division game. However, if Bentley appears to be moving with good agility and does not appear to be slowed by a banged up knee, Muschamp could still opt for Bentley as his starter at the last minute.

Scarnecchia completed four of six passes for 45 yards last week in relief of Bentley against Kentucky. Scarnecchia also appeared in South Carolina’s season opener victory over Coastal Carolina, completing three of six pass attempts for 44 yards and a touchdown in the 49-15 win.