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Beamer’s Carolina passion on display at SEC Media Days

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 8:46 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 9:42 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - That’s how you make an entrance in Birmingham. Gamecocks first-year head coach Shane Beamer steals the show opening day at SEC Media Days.

His passion is evident, listening to a small part of his opening statement.

“I’ve never been more excited about a football season,” exclaimed Beamer. “I’ve never been more excited about the future of a program than what I am right now.”

Beamer aims to flip the switch on a program that was trending in the wrong direction. The Gamecocks last season finished 2-8 overall.

“There have been some great days in Columbia, South Carolina, some great days for South Carolina football, but I am 100 percent convinced that the best days of South Carolina are right in front of us,” said Beamer.

When Beamer first was hired in December, his emphasis was on recruiting. He chuckled as he mentioned he did not have much of a life outside the football facility initially. Beamer and the Gamecocks have done over 100 virtual recruiting visits since January.

“When I got hired that first week of December, our roster now is so much better,” Beamer said. “I don’t mean that as a negative. I mean, we’ve added a lot of great pieces through the transfer portal and high school recruiting as well.”

“As we all know, there’s a lot of young men that fall through the cracks in that early signing period, and we were able to identify those guys and recruit them and sign them.”

Beamer understands the importance of bringing in marquee talent to Columbia to compete in the SEC. So much so, Beamer made what appeared to be a subtle pitch during his opening statement to one of the top tight-end prospects in the 2022 class.

Four-star prospect Oscar Delp out of Georgia is listed as the third-best at his position nationally by rivals. South Carolina’s a finalist to earn Delp’s commitment. The fan base has rallied around Delp by creating the hashtag on Twitter, “WeWantDelp.”

Well, Beamer certainly made a great sales pitch as to why the Gamecocks would be the perfect fit.

“Tight end position, something that’s near and dear to me, something I’ve coached the last five years,” said Beamer. “In my career, we’re always going to utilize the tight end. We are going to throw to the tight end. 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.”

And to be clear, Beamer emphasized the “we want” in his answer.

The emphasis on getting the tight ends involved excites senior tight end, Nick Muse.

“It makes me feel great,” said Muse. “Like I said, we’ve got a bunch of good tight ends, so throwing to the tight ends doesn’t mean throwing to me. It means throwing to one of the five athletic freaks we got.”

Gamecocks fans certainly want to see the program reverse course and trend in a winning direction. Beamer likes what he sees so far from the Gamecocks.

“Our guys have bought in and done everything we’ve asked them to do since I got hired in December and really fired up about what we’re getting done right now,” said Beamer. “We got a lot to prove. There’s a lot of question marks about our offense. There’s no doubt about it. I’m excited about the scheme we put together being able to marry some of the things I did at Oklahoma and other places I’ve been, along with what Marcus Satterfield, our offensive coordinator, and our offensive staff have done at other places.”

The offense returns key centerpieces that include the SEC’s leading rusher, Kevin Harris. The running back room is a “position of great strength” for Carolina, says Beamer. It has tons of potential with the addition of a healthy Marshawn Lloyd. The four-star tailback missed his freshman season in 2020 due to a torn ACL.

These two rising star running backs are not the only ones to keep an eye on at Carolina.

“If you watched our spring game, you saw ZaQuandre White,” mentioned Beamer. “He capped off a great spring practice with a great spring game. Fired up about what he can do.”

Whether Carolina runs the rock more or puts the ball in quarterback Luke Doty’s hands to spread it around, Beamer will play to this team’s strengths.

“That was a great lesson I learned from Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma,” said Beamer. “So whatever the strengths of our offense is, we want to get those guys on the field.”

Another source of strength is the defensive line.

“We’re taking high pride in probably being one of the forces of the team and just the forces of the nation, honestly,” said Gamecock senior defensive lineman Kingsley Enagbare. “We’ve got a lot of veterans coming back, a lot of guys who played good ball for us... we’re loaded.”

Beamer agrees.

“There were not a lot of positions at South Carolina that I was familiar with personnel-wise when I got hired,” said Beamer. “The defensive line was one of them because we recruited a bunch of those guys when I was at Georgia and didn’t get them, and we recruited a bunch of them when I was at Oklahoma.”

Beamer certainly left a great first impression nationally at his first SEC Media Days. He even left replicating the classic Stever Spurrier thumbs-up photo from Arby’s.

It was a hit on social media.

Beamer is winning the week in Birmingham, Alabama, as he eyes to build a winner on the field in Columbia starting this fall.

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