South Carolina got a firsthand look at one of the best teams in the country last Saturday night, falling at No. 2 Georgia, 40-13.

For 1st-year head coach Shane Beamer, despite the setback, it was a valuable experience for his players and assistants, all of whom got to see what the Gamecocks are striving to become.

On Wednesday during the weekly SEC coaches teleconference, Beamer credited what the Bulldogs have been able to accomplish on the recruiting trail as being a key to their success.

“They’ve done a great job of recruiting,” Beamer said. “Those 5-star fantastic recruits they bring in, when they’re not ready to play defense, they’re out there on kickoffs and punt team. That’s why they’re so dynamic in all 3 phases of the game.”

Beamer was quick to point out, however, that seeing that kind of talent is the norm in the SEC and his team needs to be ready for it.

“… Georgia’s got great players, but so does everybody else in the SEC, as well,” Beamer said. “It’s about winning your 1-on-1 battles, and we didn’t do enough of that on Saturday night. … It’s called the SEC. It’s big boy football. We expect our guys to be able to execute.”

Also on Wednesday, Beamer was asked about quarterbacks, his new starting QB Luke Doty, and the quarterback his team will face on Saturday night, Kentucky’s Will Levis.

Beamer discussed what he saw from Doty in relief against Georgia and the strides that he’s made since.

“Obviously, in practice, getting him as much work as we can,” Beamer said. “In individual drills, team settings, whatever it may be. … We were trying to win the football game Saturday night and took the field expecting to win. … When Zeb (Noland) got hurt and (Luke) came in, we were still trying to win. … He’s got to be better. He’ll be the first to tell you he was rusty and missed some throws, but I thought the toughness and decision-making he showed was really good.”

As far as Levis is concerned, Beamer knows that he’ll be a challenge for the South Carolina defense.

“He is really really really good,” Beamer said. “He’s got size. 6-3, 230 pounds. He can certainly run. That shows up on tape. To me the 2 things that jump off the tape are his release — really quick, he gets the ball out — and he throws — this is not coach speak — a really good deep ball. There’s not a throw he can’t make. … He sits back there and throws balls all over the field. They’re accurate deep balls, hitting receivers in stride.”