South Carolina head football coach Shane Beamer received the Football Writers Association of America’s Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach of the Year Award, Monday. During the ceremony, which took place at Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille in Gainesville, Beamer spoke about the Gamecocks’ 2021 season.
South Carolina had a bevy of ups and downs during the 2021 season. It lost four of its first five SEC matchups against Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas A&M but beat Vanderbilt, Florida and Auburn. Despite the lackluster record in conference play, Beamer led South Carolina to a 7-6 record, a turnaround of 2020’s 2-8 mark. The Gamecocks also won their first Bowl since 2018 after beating the North Carolina Tar Heels 38-21 at the 2021 Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Dec. 30.
Beamer attributed most of the success to the team’s youth and competitive spirit. South Carolina played five away games last season and lost four of them. Its only road win came against East Carolina, 20-17, on Sept. 11. However, two of its six losses came down to six points or fewer.
South Carolina is enjoying the benefits of this new era of college football. The Gamecocks added former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler via the transfer portal in January. Rattler, who was featured in the show “QB1: Beyond the Lights,” played three seasons with the Sooners between 2019 and 2021. Last year, he posted a 75% completion rate with 11 touchdowns and 1,483 passing yards in nine games.
Other transfers include former Georgia running back Lovasea Carroll, wide receivers James Madison and Antwane Wells and Oklahoma tight end Austin Stogner. Beamer said he believed the portal is game-changing and thinks the same about Name, Image and Likeliness (NIL) deals.
Defensive Talent in the SEC
Beamer, who’s had stints as cornerbacks and linebackers coach, highlighted the defensive talent in the SEC teams. He said he believed the defensive aspect of the sport is continuously evolving. Last season, South Carolina ranked third in the SEC in interceptions with 15. However, it finished 12th in tackles with 784 and with 26 sacks. It also allowed 40 points or more three times.
Although he was in hostile territory — one that he will visit again on Nov. 12 — Beamer sounded pleased with the visit.