Dan Werner talks ‘weapons’ and how much of South Carolina’s offense is new with video
August 09, 2018
Dan Werner Media Availability — 8/9/18
South Carolina quarterbacks coach Dan Werner is the only new coach on the Gamecocks staff this year, and he likes what sees through the first week of fall practice.
“I see a lot of weapons,” Werner said. “I look at it, our offensive line is solid, I look at the quarterbacks and I’m happy with them. We have big-time receivers, the running backs are good, the tight ends. ... Our job now as coaches is to get those guys the ball, and I think with this scheme, we are going to be able to do that.”
Werner and first-year offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon have worked together to add more hurry-up elements and more extensive up of run-pass option plays to this year’s offense. The Gamecocks finished 12th in the SEC in total offense last year, averaging 337.1 yards per game.
Werner estimated that this year’s playbook will consistent of 50 percent holdover from the offense the last two years and 50 percent new things.
“A lot of the stuff is things I have done in my past, things that BMac wanted to do but didn’t last year, but there is a lot of carryover from last year too because there were a lot of good plays we had in,” he said. “What we did is go through and talk about what the players liked and what we liked from last year, keep that and what do we know that we need to add to it.”
Coach Dan Werner talks receivers:
He’s coached some all-time great receivers. USC’s are there with ‘best ones I’ve had’
South Carolina quarterbacks coach Dan Werner has seen a lot of pass-catching come through in 30-plus years on the sidelines.
The first Miami team he was with had the likes of NFL Hallof Famer Michael Irvin and All-Pro Brian Blades. He later coached Hurricanes teams that featured Andre Johnson, and Ole Miss squads with the likes of Mike Wallace and Laquon Treadwell.
So he’s man who’s watched a few good receivers, and now is watching a few more good ones in Columbia.
“It’s up there with the best ones I’ve had,” Werner said. “And I’ve been really lucky to have some great ones. I’m really, really excited.”
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The Gamecocks will boast the likes of Deebo Samuel, Bryan Edwards, Shi Smith and OrTre Smith, who have all been full-season starters and shown flashes.
Samuel has demonstrated the heights of his skill in several spots. Edwards is a player any quarterback can throw it up to and let him go get it. Shi Smith showed explosiveness in the bowl game, and OrTre Smith boasts uncommon size.
The coach said it makes life easier on his guys, as it takes just a little of the pressure off.
“That’s what I tell the quarterbacks every day,” Werner said. “You don’t have to force a ball, thinking that, man, this is my chance to get a big plays because with these guys, they’re going to make plays for you all the time. So if you don’t have something, throw it away. Next play, throw it out there and they’re going to make a play.”
Dan Werner talking QB Dakereon Joyner
South Carolina’s coaches haven’t decided how they will use freshman quarterback Dakereon Joyner in Saturday’s first scrimmage of the ball, much less if they will use once the real games start.
“I am really proud of all the guys. He’s still young, as Jay (Urich) is, and they’re still learning things and making young guy mistakes every now and then,”Gamecocks quarterbacks coach Dan Werner said of Joyner. “The thing I like is when they make a mistake, they bounce right back and move on.”
Joyner was a four-star prospect out of Fort Dorchester High School when he signed with the Gamecocks in December, but he’s going to have a tough time breaking into the two-deep depth chart with junior Jake Bentley starting and senior Michael Scarnecchia in the No. 2 spot. Still, Joyner “no doubt” has made progress since the spring, Werner said.
“The footwork part of it is big. I can just say every day that he’s getting better and better,” Werner said. “We will see where he goes. I think he feels good about himself and he’s throwing the ball well and doing a good job. It’s not like he’s tucking the ball and running every time. It’s hard for me to say how he feels but I definitely see a progression.”
Coach Dan Werner talks QB Jake Bentley
Only one quarterback in the Southeastern Conference threw more interceptions last year than South Carolina’s Jake Bentley.
That was Missouri’s Drew Lock, who threw 13 interceptions but offset that with an NCAA-best 44 touchdowns. Bentley threw 12 interceptions versus 18 touchdowns.
While the Gamecocks coaches prepare their junior quarterback for what they believe will be a big year with increased responsibility in a new style of offense that will include a faster pace, more deep shots and more use of run-pass options plays than at any time during Bentley’s career, the undercurrent of it all is they also are hoping his turnover numbers will go down.
“That’s something we talk about every day,” quarterbacks coach Dan Werner said. “That’s No. 1 on our list,protect the ball. “I just want low interceptions, that’s what I want.
Werner, who was hired in the offseason, has worked extensively with Bentley on footwork and body positioning, both of which he believes will result in increased accuracy.
“Technique and mechanically wise, I can fix some stuff,” Bentley said. “It’s been a great learning experience going back and watching all the interceptions from last year and just learning from them. Part of it is definitely trying to force too much, trying to get something going that wasn’t there.”
He doesn’t believe he will have to force as many throws in the new offense, he said.
“At the end of the day, (Werner) doesn’t want me focusing on interceptions. Coach McClendon doesn’t either,” Bentley said. “We’re going to continue to be aggressive and throw the ball down the field. We have one of the best defensive minds in college football so if we throw an interception, we throw an interception. We’re going to continue to be aggressive.”
South Carolina’s coaches have gone out of their way to point out that Bentley’s interceptions have roots in all aspects of the offense and can’t be blamed solely on the quarterback.
Head coach Will Muschamp: “When you have an interception, it could have been on the protection, it could have been on the route, it could have been a miscommunication. There’s a lot of things that you go through and you evaluate what we could have done better. Not all of those are on Jake.”
McClendon: “That’s something that gets laid at his feet but a lot of times that’s stuff that’s beyond him, too.”
Werner: “When it comes to interceptions of course everybody thinks it’s the quarterback but when you go back in history, it’s going to be sometimes the receiver doesn’t do the right thing, sometimes the line doesn’t do the right thing, you get unlucky. There are a lot of different things that can happen.”
A lot of those things happened against Georgia, Florida and Clemson last year. In those games, Bentley had seven interceptions and two touchdown passes.
“I think you view it as a learning experience. You learn from it and grow from it,” Bentley said. “You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it. Just find a way to win the game. I could care less if I throw four interceptions if we win the game,that’s all I care about, so we have to find a way to win those games.”
In 20 career games, Bentley has 27 touchdowns and 16 interceptions to go along with 4,214 career passing yards.
“The good thing about Jake is he’s very coachable,” Muschamp said. “He’s got a ‘Coach me,coach,’ attitude. There is nobody more critical of himself than Jake Bentley, I can assure you of that.”