The University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida are separated by roughly 100 miles, compete often for recruits and likewise battle on the football field, among other sports, in the ‘War on I-4’ rivalry.

Now, the two rivals are locked in a tussle for an assistant coach, sources tell FootballScoop.

Longtime high school football coach Bobby Bentley, who spent the previous five seasons on Will Muschamp’s South Carolina Gamecocks staffs, has been set to join Jeff Scott’s USF staff since last month.

However, multiple sources on Saturday told FootballScoop that new UCF head coach Gus Malzahn has made a strong play to add Bentley to his Knights staff.

Malzahn, per sources, has offered Bentley his offensive coordinator / quarterbacks position in Orlando.

At USF, Bentley, per sources, would become the Bulls’ passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach.

Sources indicated directly to FootballScoop that Bentley was leaning toward sticking with the USF opportunity, but UCF could circle back with more money to entice Bentley to vault to the Knights opportunity.

It would be a key win for Scott’s developing USF program if it can keep Bentley in the fold as the Bulls try to rebuild from a 1-8 debut campaign under Scott.

As part of his South Carolina contract, Bentley, though he was not retained by new Gamecocks head man Shane Beamer, will be paid by the school through May.

Bentley has direct ties to both Malzahn and Scott.

After his first run atop South Carolina prep powerhouse Byrnes High School near Spartanburg, S.C., Bentley took over the head coaching job at Presbyterian College, his alma mater and where he first hired Scott onto his staff.

Continuing the tight coaching circles, Bentley worked for two years under Malzahn at Auburn as an offensive analyst.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest news.


Sunday Update> It appears Bentley has indeed chosen to stick with his commitment to USF. Gus, we’re told has now offered quarterbacks to GJ Kinne.

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John Brice has covered college football, mostly in the SEC as well as covering Notre Dame and Ohio State, for more than 20 years. He's a former Tennessee Vols football sideline reporter and believes life should be spent traveling or planning the next trip.