College Sports

Gamecocks lose two fixtures at this position. Veterans are ready to step in

Bobby Bentley excited for challenge of coaching tight ends

South Carolina Gamecocks football assistant coach Bobby Bentley moved from running backs coach to tight ends this offseason. He'll work with Kiel Pollard, Evan Hinson
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South Carolina Gamecocks football assistant coach Bobby Bentley moved from running backs coach to tight ends this offseason. He'll work with Kiel Pollard, Evan Hinson

South Carolina assistant coach Bobby Bentley is in a new spot on the college level.

He came in as a running backs coach, spent one bowl season working with quarterbacks, and was asked this offseason about moving to work with tight ends. He said he gave his boss, Will Muschamp, a simple “yes, sir,” and now inherits a position losing its top two options from 2018.

But he’s in good position to reload.

“It definitely helps having older guys,” Bentley said. “Will Register and (Kyle) Markway and (Kiel) Pollard. Those guys have been leading the group and have done a great job.”

K.C. Crosby (19 career starts) and Jacob August (43 career games) graduated last fall after playing the roles of smaller, mobile tight end and bigger, in-line player. Pollard fits the Crosby mold, while Markway matches the August spot.

One of the biggest questions is how much other players can work in or perhaps surpass those seniors.

Bentley was complimentary of Register, a local product who has played sparingly in two years. He has the size to play in-line, but is still working on the requisite physicality.

That’s to say nothing of Evan Hinson, who gave up basketball this semester to focus on the tight end spot.

“Evan Hinson’s coming on,” Bentley said. “He misses a lot of practice because of class, but he has a chance because he’s got a lot of talent. Just got to get a lot of reps on the field.”

The potential of the 6-foot-4, 230 pounder as a playmaker has never been in doubt.

USC also added a pair of freshmen in Keshawn Toney and Traevon Kenion. Toney enrolled in January, while Kenion just arrived on campus this week.

It’s a different challenge for Bentley, who has been a small college head coach, high school legend and analyst before he came to Columbia. He said he’s taking the job as being a teacher, just like any other coaching role.

“It’s been a great, great experience for me,” Bentley said. “It’s kind of rejuvenated me.”

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