What QB Ryan Hilinski has shown four starts into his Gamecock career
Oct. 05, 2019
Gamecock QB Ryan Hilinski’s first few weeks as the Gamecocks starter have been, what can you say very eventful.
Ryan overseen an offensive outburst in his first game, Hilinski came in with the hype of a top-70 national recruit and was thrust into action after Jake Bentley’s foot injury. Early on, his play has probably been a bit better than his stats, as a few deep balls haven’t quite come together and he’s often focused on accurately working the short game. Ryan put up 300 yards against solid Alabama defense, suffered a down game on an SEC road trip and led his team to a gritty win. He and his squad are now getting a week without a game (not exactly a week off), and coach Will Muschamp had a simple message about where he is. On the season, Hilinski has thrown for 912 yards, five scores and three interceptions. Half his games have come against strong defenses in Missouri and Alabama.
What has Muschamp seen so far in Ryan's young career as a starter. “He’ll continue to improve. “I’ve been very pleased. Obviously the Missouri game, he’d like to have some other opportunities there, but we’ve got to play better around him. Needs to be more accurate with the football, but I follow that by saying we need to be better around him. Starting on the road in our league is difficult.” (That game saw him post a passer rating of 94.1. He had a little bump the next week, a Kentucky game where he wasn’t asked to throw as much and the offensive line gave up some pressure with a new right tackle.) “I thought he took care of the ball, did the things we asked him to do. Throws on the run extremely well. So we like to get him out of the pocket, change the launch point on the defense a little bit. I thought he moved extremely well.”
Muschamp pointed to one deep ball against Kentucky, a post route to Bryan Edwards, that was in a decent spot but the receiver couldn’t quite haul it in with tight coverage. The off week could provide some time to slow down and process, to focus on the broader offense and not just a given opponent or scheme. Muschamp said they haven’t pared down the offense much for Hilinski, whose understanding of the game is considered to be strong. But heading into each week, the staff and Hilinski might pick and choose exactly what has the chance to be the most effective. “The biggest conversation that he and Bryan McClendon and Dan Werner have Friday is, ‘What to do we feel comfortable with?’” Muschamp said, “as far as openers and some of the other things. Actually have the conversation on Thursday as we go into Friday.
“He’s more than capable of making those plays,” Muschamp said. “And just be more consistent with his effort. And I think as he continues to mature and grow, we’re going to see that.”