South Carolina football: Shane Beamer out to prove critics wrong about complexity of offense
Shane Beamer understands that the South Carolina offense has struggled for much of the season, and Marcus Satterfield continues to be among the most scrutinized coordinators in the SEC.
When South Carolina lost at Texas A&M, the offensive line was the weakest part of the team. That was even after the group was shuffled and juggled to the point where Beamer asked SEC Network sideline reporter Cole Cubelic if he had any other ideas.
If it’s not the wide receivers, especially beyond Josh Vann, it’s the running backs who have struggled to find a groove this season. South Carolina ranks No. 12 in the SEC in rushing yards per game at 117 yards.
After questions over multiple weeks about Satterfield, Beamer faced a question Sunday night on his media teleconference about the complexity of the offense, and if it needs to be simplified in order to be more effective.
Outside observers have said the South Carolina offense is too complex. Does Beamer agree?
“Who, from an outside standpoint, would know that it’s too complex? My answer would be no,” Beamer said, per SportsTalkSC. “I think sometimes when you hire a coach from the NFL that all of a sudden we use “pro-style” and “pro-style” means complex. I wouldn’t say that at all. We’re constantly wanting to give our guys a chance to be successful. Our guys not understanding what we’re doing is not a recipe to be successful, in my opinion.”
Beamer appeared to give credence to the theory that the offense needed to be simplified, because the Gamecock coaching staff, in fact, changed how it manages the game preparation.
“We’re carrying less plays in our game plan than what we did early in the season to try to be a little bit more efficient,” Beamer said. “You want to be complex and multiple enough where a defense can’t just line up and know exactly what you’re doing. You have to keep teams off balance with formation, personnel grouping, motion, shifts and concepts, and we do all that, for sure.”
Beamer then mentioned offenses from 2 of his previous stops, Georgia and Oklahoma, but has to admit that the talent level between those programs and this South Carolina roster is much different.
“I’ve been a part of a quote, unquote pro-style offense at the University of Georgia. Jim Chaney was an offensive coordinator who had been in the NFL for a long, long time. When we were operating at a high level, I don’t remember anyone saying that was an offense that was too complex to learn,” Beamer said. “Lincoln Riley’s offense is quote, unquote Air Raid, and it’s not a simple offense to pick up. We asked our guys at Oklahoma to do more, and certain positions had a lot more on their plate than certain positions do in our offense.”
By answering this question the way Beamer did, it opens the offense, or the coaching staff, up to further scrutiny. If it’s not too complex, and several positions, namely the offensive line and running backs, performed better last season, what’s the root cause of the problem?
The more Beamer talks about this issue, the closer he appears to get at the heart of the matter. He went on to acknowledge that mental errors and busts have been very low. However, he admitted that, “We can certainly call better plays and execute the plays that we call at a higher level than what we’ve been doing also, though.”
The longer the players get into the offense and the season, and particularly after a bye week when the Gamecocks did plenty of self-scouting, the more the offense needs to deliver. When players like Kevin Harris, who had offseason surgery, and is coming out of the bye week more healthy than perhaps he’s been in a long time, the offense needs to deliver.
Bye weeks reveal a lot about a coaching staff, especially with a division opponent like Florida ahead. Between the offseason, and last week, South Carolina has plenty of reason to be in good shape from a preparation standpoint.
Now we’ll see how the Gamecocks do.