Shane Beamer arrives at SEC Media Days with some substance to go with his hype
Soon after Shane Beamer was hired, the talk around Columbia and college football coaching circles was that he was well-prepared for the job, and had prepped himself with an expanding archive of binders for every decision a head coach makes.
His father’s career was well-documented, and he was a key assistant for some of the best coaches in the game in the past decade. Now that he’s taking the next step of being an SEC coach, which is selling his recruiting and coaching pitch in Hoover, Alabama, Beamer has some substance to go with that pedigree.
Beamer enters the head coaching ranks in a better position than the average first-year coach. Many in that position have roster holes or major question marks along the offensive and defensive lines. While he not only has a veteran offensive line, he also brings back the leading rusher in the SEC and a quarterback with experience.
“My dad used to always say, ‘If you’re good on the line of scrimmage, and you’re good in the kicking game, you have a chance to be successful,'” Beamer said from the podium at SEC Media Days.
Look at the issues facing Auburn, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, for example, in those areas, and compare them to the Gamecocks.
But he has also taken the interesting and unique approach to flat-out appeal to the elite tight ends in America.
“We are going to pass to the tight end,” Beamer said from the podium on Monday that should warm the hearts of sports radio callers from the Midlands to the Upstate. “We want the premier tight ends in America.”
Perhaps he was talking directly to Oscar Delp, who happens to be No. 3 tight end in the Class of 2022 out of Cumming, Georgia? Beamer admitted that it’s the No. 1 question he gets from donor and booster club events. It’s a fan favorite, and now he’s hoping for it to become a fan favorite on the field vis a vis Hayden Hurst.
All those sales pitches turned into substance in June when the Gamecocks landed 12 recruits, he said, and had a recruit on campus every day they were allowed but Father’s Day. Yes, some of the recruits are under-the-radar, or boom-or-bust material, but that level of production is unprecedented for the Gamecocks. He also relayed a story from a recruit’s mom, who said the coaches are the same in person as they are on Zoom, which is not the case with other programs, she said.
There’s also more.
“I am really, really pumped about the headway we’ve made with the Class of 2023 and 2024,” he said.
Although not many will pick the Gamecocks above the middle of the pack of the SEC East, Beamer is aware of the pecking order but also brings an optimistic twist to his outlook.
“I’m not conceding anything right now as far as wins and losses,” Beamer said. “Let’s be the very best team that we can be. I know talking about the process is very cliche, but it’s true.”
Beamer is aware that the defensive secondary is a known weak spot because of a slew of departures, but he said the program has added 5 players who weren’t in the fold during spring practice.
He has also generated buzz among the fan base in the way of sold-out Gamecock Club events, and you might say, sure, it’s a honeymoon for a first-year coach. But remember, this is a program coming off a 2-8 season that led to plenty of player departures and even assistant coaches bolting after initially agreeing to work under Beamer.
“It took some time, but I feel like it came together perfectly,” Beamer said.
Talkin’ season is often a lot of bluster without much substance. There are countless coaches from Robbie Caldwell to Bret Bielema who have walked to the podium in Hoover and made a pitch without registering a win or loss and had disappointing results later in their tenure.
Beamer said the fan base is as jacked up as anyone can remember, and there’s plenty of reason to buy into the championship success the school has had across several sports.
There’s still plenty of time to go, and growing pains ahead, but the more he delivers, like he did with recruiting in June, the easier it is to buy what Beamer’s selling.