Shane Beamer is entering his first season as the head coach at South Carolina. The Gamecocks have a lot of ground to make up in the Southeastern Conference.
This was a roster that was gutted by the transfer portal and saw a few players leave early for the NFL Draft. The new head coach flashed off the people skills on Monday that allowed him to land the South Carolina gig. Beamer is selling nothing but positivity believing this is a great time to be a Gamecock. A select few may just disagree.
This is a man that understands public relations. Beamer was selling a lot on Monday in Hoover.
Youth and inexperience at QB
The first real challenge for any new coach in college football is to find the first cornerstone piece at quarterback. Carolina has added a four-star talent in the class of 2022, but sophomore Luke Doty was a top 100-prospect out of Myrtle Beach. However, the blue-chipper struggled mightily in his first year starting and the Gamecocks don’t have much quality depth behind in center. This is a cause for concern.
“We’ve got good young talent at the quarterback position, but that’s what it is, it’s young,” said Beamer. “Luke Doty is the most experienced guy that we have. We named him our starter coming out of spring practice. He’s a guy that’s been in our program for a year.”
Ground and pound
Not only is the quarterback position a concern, but the wide receiver group at South Carolina is also the weakest in the SEC. However, Beamer likes his offensive line while Kevin Harris rushed for 1,138 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. The return of top-50 recruit MarShawn Lloyd from a knee injury has many thinking the Gamecocks will go to the ground early and often under new offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield.
“Our running back position is a great position of strength for us,” Beamer told reporters. “Obviously, we all know what Kevin Harris did at South Carolina last season and the season he had. He’s excited to build upon that and to have an even better 2021 season. To lead the SEC in rushing yards per game and to go over a thousand yards on a team that didn’t have the success they wanted on the field to me is remarkable and just a testament to the workhorse that Kevin is.”
Well, we’ve found the head coach with the strongest lungs in the SEC. Beamer said a lot in his opening remarks going over every position group on the roster as well as giving a recruiting pitch to any prospective prospects that could be watching. He complimented a ton of SEC Network on-air talents and talked glowingly about his dad’s career. It was a lot of words with not much substance, but this is what we ask for at these types of events.
However, he refused to take any bait on KSR’s question about the trend occurring in the SEC of schools hiring offensive coordinators with an NFL background. So we probably won’t be on his Christmas card list this winter.
Line of scrimmage league
South Carolina has their fair share of weaknesses this season, but the line of scrimmage is not one of them. The Gamecocks have a pair of former five-star defensive line players on the roster to go along with edge player Kingsley Enagbare who is a legit NFL prospect and Georgia State transfer Jordan Strachan who led the FBS in sacks last season. Beamer and his staff will be leaning into the trenches this season.
“My dad used to always say in coaching, if you’re good on the line of scrimmage and you’re good in the kicking game, you’ve got a chance to be successful, and I feel that we are,” said the younger Beamer. “We’re certainly good on offensive line. We are deep, and we are talented at defensive line.”
Recruiting never stops
Not a whole lot of coaches bring up their success on the recruiting trail at media days. But Beamer is not a normal coach. This could be a very tough deal in Columbia, but the Gamecocks have things rolling in the class of 2022 with 12 verbal commitments since the calendar turned to June. However, South Carolina is in the process of putting a top-25 class together and is very much in the running for top-100 tight end Oscar Delp. The first-year head coach sold the recruiting angle hard.
“It was super cool hearing that and him (Coach Beamer) talk about that. I definitely want to be at a school that utilizes that position and I’m really feeling the love from the whole South Carolina fan base.” https://t.co/LFzGwpKxJw
— Brett Greenberg (@74Talk) July 19, 2021
“I said in my press conference back in December that I didn’t feel like there was anything at South Carolina that we lacked to be a championship program, that we had everything that we needed,” Beamer told the media. “I am even more convinced of that now after being there for seven months.”
Tight end utilization
Before coming to South Carolina, Beamer coached tight ends at both Oklahoma and Georgia. With potential All-SEC talent Nick Muse returning to Columbia, the Gamecocks plan on using this position early and often. Expect plenty of 12 personnel from their offense this season.
“We want the premier tight ends in America, and that’s the way we’re recruiting now as well, to go get those guys as well,” said Beamer.
Escaping dad’s shadow
Not surprisingly, Frank Beamer was a major topic of conversation on Monday afternoon. Shane’s father was a legendary Virginia Tech head coach who won a lot of football games in Blacksburg. However, the younger Beamer has been trying to escape his father’s shadow for a long time. Shane has made calculated decisions in his career to get out of his father’s shadow.
“Whether it’s right or wrong, I always tried to keep that chip on my shoulder or edge about myself to prove myself for sure,” Beamer told reporters. “Certainly, I’m very proud of that. I got into coaching in 2000 as a graduate assistant with Georgia Tech with George O’Leary, and part of that was wanting to get out on my own and make my own name and not just go work for my dad as a graduate assistant and not be Shane Beamer, but to be Frank’s son. It was important for me to go out and develop my own reputation and contacts.”
South Carolina figures to have one of the worst rosters in the SEC this season. There are huge worries about the back seven on defense to go along with not much proven at both quarterback and wide receiver. There are a couple of positional groups that look promising, but this could be a year zero situation in Columbia.
After hosting Georgia in week three, Kentucky will roll into Williams-Brice Stadium to take on the Gamecocks. The Wildcats will be a favorite and need to take care of business in their first road game of the season. Kentucky has a better roster than the Gamecocks right now.