Bennett Swygert Used Week To Prepare

While the decision did not come until Thursday, Bennett Swygert felt like he knew what the outcome would be in advance. What is impressive about this young man is that he did not fail to recognize the opportunity before him nor did he miss the chance to make something of the opportunity ....

Bennett, as he prefers to be called, knew coming into Tuesday's practice in particular that something was different, something was changing. But unlike most fans he honestly didn't believe it was going to be who would start in Saturday's contest against the UAB Blazers.

"I don't know how much of it is a controversy as much as it is that our offense is sputtering," began Swygert. "We need to make changes somewhere obviously to get a little bit more productive. We made changes this week, Dondrial will remain as the starter, and now hopefully it will allow us to get back to where we should be."

The lowcountry QB had become a fan favorite in a hurry while in the process of racking up scores in mop-up duty in the Gamecocks' first three games. Yet the 6-3 224 pound redshirted freshman remained grounded - he knows you don't score every three times you touch the ball.

"I mean anything like that has to come to an end," Bennett laughed. "Obviously it hasn't been just one player helping me to score. People have stepped up - and there have been different than normal circumstances involved as well."

Still, Bennett has enjoyed the limelight for a change after struggling just to see time on the field in his first five semesters at USC. The pressure of possibly coming in to replace Pinkins at any time does not seem to be phasing him in the least.

"I feel comfortable as a quarterback, any quarterback knows that he has the spotlight on him and the pressure comes with that. Hopefully we will be able to step up as a group and play better as a group if it is decided that I am needed. I'll be ready."

Swygert used this week to make some headway, and he hopes he has the opportunity to make the practice pay off.

"Everytime you go out to practice you try to make yourself better," Swygert says. It's a mantra of his, an internal law.

"That's the goal, to make yourself better every day," he continued. "The team will improve overall if everyone continues to work hard every day to make ourselves better. So this week's slightly different focus only made us work harder at getting better."

Everyone's question where Bennett is concerned has to do with his knees. He has spent his entire college carreer in rehab it seems at times.

"My knees feel great, they really feel fine," promised Bennett with a confident smile. "Dr. Walters would come in and push me on the days I wanted to take off ... I really need to thank him for that first and foremost. But my knees can take it when the time comes."

He pauses for a minute and then adds, "Any crazy thing can happen. The second time I tore it I didn't even get hit so you just gotta take it in strides and hope that everything holds up."

Still, Swygert is not worried. He knows his strengths and weaknesses.

"My passing game is my strength. I'm not very mobile at all. But we have a superb group of running backs and any one of them could take it the distance on any given snap."

That's exactly what the fans are saying. So was Swygert surprised when Dondrial got the starting nod Thursday night?

"I expected Dondrial to start, and I am behind him all the way."

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