South Carolina enters 2019 with the nastiest schedule in college football.

Along with a brutal SEC slate that includes Alabama and Texas A&M as SEC West crossover opponents, USC faces Clemson and North Carolina as non-conference opponents. It’s really going to be a rough road that could go either okay or really bad.

Quarterback Jake Bentley and the offense have to improve upon last year’s average showing. The Gamecocks finished ninth in the SEC averaging 30.1 points per game and averaged 6.24 yards per play.

2019 is just another year where we’re wondering when Bentley will become the player everyone thought. He led the SEC in INTs last year with 14.

Former Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley pointed out some of the key struggles from the Gamecocks in 2018, including Bentley.

“The biggest thing is what they do in the red zone,” Shockley said on the SEC Network. “They have really struggled in the red zone this past year. They were 13th in the SEC in the red zone. The only team worse was Vanderbilt. And Jake Bentley has to do a better job of taking care of the football in the red zone. This is a team that had six turnovers in the red zone last season and five of them were by Jake Bentley throwing the interception, which is the worst in the entire country.”

Host Dari Nowkhah then asked Shockley why Bentley hasn’t improved to the level everyone thought.

“I think they’re still trying to figure out, ‘What is best for Jake Bentley,'” Shockley asked.

“Offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon has come in last season and they wanted to go a little bit faster, but with faster, it comes better decisions,” Shockley said on the SEC Network. “Things have to happen a little bit faster. Now, maybe in his second year in this system, things start to click for him, and he becomes a more accurate passer, he makes better decisions, and with that becomes a better Jake Bentley. He has to do that in his last year. He has no more time to do it. This is the time for him to go out and play his best football.”

Perhaps the biggest addition for South Carolina came when running back Tavien Feaster transferred from Clemson. The Gamecocks desperately need a difference-making back. That would certainly help the red zone struggles and Bentley overall. Feaster rushed for over 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns in three seasons at Clemson.