After learning that he wouldn’t receive any repetitions with the first-team offense, Steven Bench decided to transfer to another school where he could compete for the starting quarterback position. While he wouldn’t take over as the starter in Starkville this fall, Bench would be a great fit for the Mississippi State Bulldogs—one of the schools he’s considering—in the future.
Make no mistake about it, Bench wouldn’t receive much playing time for Dan Mullen’s team this year. After throwing for almost 2,900 yards last season, Tyler Russell is undoubtedly going to be the guy this fall. Behind him is ultra efficient Dak Prescott, who completed 18-of-29 passes for 194 yards and four touchdowns in limited action in 2012. Since these two signal callers have put up decent numbers against the unforgiving defenses of the SEC, it’s tough to see Bench overtaking either of them on the depth chart, even with a solid camp this August.
However, that doesn’t mean that Bench couldn’t eventually work his way into a starting role in the future. While he didn’t get much of an opportunity to show what he could do in Big Ten play last season (eight pass attempts, three rushes for 18 yards), Bench arguably played better than any of the other Penn State Nittany Lion quarterbacks in the spring game, completing 9-of-15 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over, something that Bulldogs struggled with at the end of last season.
Combine that performance with his ability to throw on the run, and the knowledge that he gained from playing for Bill O’Brien—one of the top quarterback coaches in the game today—Bench would give the Bulldogs a legitimate weapon under center.
That’s exactly the type of player that MSU will need if they’re going to continue to close the gap with the other teams that sit atop the SEC West.