COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Carolina welcomed the spring game atmosphere created by Gamecock nation inside Williams-Brice Stadium.
“We talked to them before the game about embracing that and enjoying it, having fun,” said first-year head coach Shane Beamer. “We certainly did. I had a blast out there. "
“It was a lot of fun, definitely a different environment from the normal practice setting,” said starting quarterback Luke Doty. “That was really cool to get out there and have some crowd noise. Have some energy from the stadium and the fans.”
Even with all the excitement surrounding the day, Beamer said he had zero intentions of turning this into a festival or celebration.
“We got way too much work to do,” Beamer mentioned. “We didn’t need to waste our 15th practice on a county fair of competitions out there to entertain people. We needed to get better as a football team.”
Beamer wishes the team was a bit healthier and further along in its progress. He said 23 players did not play due to injury, and defensive back RJ Roderick exited early after hurting his ankle.
Three scholarship running backs did not suit up. It opened the door to opportunity. ZaQuandre White rushed right through it, carrying the ball 14 times for 95 yards and a score. Beamer fired up for White’s dominant outing.
“He’s high energy,” Beamer said. “I love the way he competes and the way he runs the football. He’s a weapon for us.”
Carolina played one-half of game action due to limited roster availability, with the second half featuring situational work.
Quarterback Luke Doty finished 5-7 passing for 54 yards. He guided Team Garnet to a 14-10 win over Team Black. Doty is the undisputed leader in the clubhouse to be the starter this fall.
As Beamer put it, the team was very vanilla with its play calls on both sides. So, if you’re concerned about Doty pushing the ball down the field, don’t be, says Beamer.
And he’s happy where the team currently stands heading into the summer.
“There’s no doubt we got better as a football team,” Beamer said. “Still not good enough. We got to take another step this summer. I love this group. They’re hungry and work hard.”
Beamer wants his players to enjoy some family time next month and return in June ready to work. He adds teams can take a big step in the summertime. He’s eager to get to work.