UofSC defeat at UT reminds how far Beamer and Gamecocks have to go
Shane Beamer could only laugh.
When asked after Saturday’s game how he would rate the game, the sometimes fiery but generally tempered Beamer wouldn’t bite. He didn’t throw offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield under the bus. He didn’t rant over hundreds of four- and five-star rookies in front of his team.
Instead, Beamer took a holistic but difficult approach to his response at the end of his press conference after Saturday’s 45-20 move in Tennessee.
“I mean what do you want me to say – that I think it was terrible?” he said. “Are there any coins Marcus would like to get back?” Yes. Every coach and player in this locker room would love to have feedback. Today, no question. I mean, if we could go back and in retrospect be 20/20, there are a lot of games that we would like to get back. “
Over the course of six games, South Carolina has been an assortment of peaks and valleys.
USC has already won victories against East Carolina and Troy. He played Kentucky’s No.16 on the wire in Colombia.
Saturday was no different, as the Gamecocks held on while chasing a 28-0 deficit against the Volunteers’ top offense.
Quarterback Luke Doty continues to look like the long-term response under center despite a handful of snaps and an interception on a two-point conversion try he tried to throw out of the end zone.
Running back Kevin Harris, who missed the opener of the season – in part recovering from an offseason return procedure – has come close to the 2020 version of himself who led the Conference of the Southeast while rushing. Harris’ numbers on Saturday won’t appear – he finished the day with 16 carries for 61 yards and a pair of scores – but the way he bounced and rebounded on future tackles seemed closer to form.
“The last time I entered the end zone, what was it last season? Harris asked. “It’s been six games. It made me feel good. “
The South Carolina defense also regained its pace, allowing just 99 yards in the second half after giving up more than 300 yards in the first 30 minutes. White’s unit limited Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker to just nine passing yards in the combined third and fourth quarters.
As they’ve been doing for weeks, USC walked into the locker room, made adjustments, and worked their way into the game. While the outcome was never really in doubt, the Gamecocks at least made more than 80,000 orange-and-white-clad fans uncomfortable.
Still, whatever the positives to take from Saturday’s loss, that still doesn’t excuse South Carolina for continuing to fall prone too often.
Beamer told reporters after the game that he felt the team were ready to head to Rocky Top. The pre-game preparations were productive. The passage was efficient. The mentalities were there. The results, however, were an absolute mess.
The Gamecocks offered little, if any, resistance to the Tennessee tempo-inspired offense in the first half on Saturday. The Volunteers went through the South Carolina high school for 373 yards and 38 points in the first 30 minutes alone. Four times the Volunteers have scored on five games or less. Twice it only took UT three games to find the end zone.
The play appeal was again examined under the microscope when the Gamecocks composed a rigged pass game that featured defensive end Jordan Burch trying to float a pass from the 2-yard line on three defensemen to the tight end. Nick Muse in the back left corner of the end zone. Not to mention South Carolina averaging 7.1 yards per carry on this route.
Beamer said the play was scripted to some extent. When USC reached the end zone on Saturday, coaches wanted to work the scoresheet until Burch’s pass.
But instead of igniting social media for their creativity, it resulted in an interception. Five games later, Tennessee added their third touchdown of the day. Two minutes and 16 seconds after the pick, the Vols strutted into the first quarter break with a 28-0 lead.
“We just need to have better execution, have better ball and just better execute,” Doty said, echoing feelings of the past weeks.
After a month of action, South Carolina is where it started – even 0.500. There has been some good. There was some trouble. Saturday, there was more of the latter.
No one expected the Gamecocks to be world batsmen in 2021. Beamer inherited a program that has won six games since 2019. USC has not finished better than 4-4 in the SEC since 2018. .
This fall was always going to be a work in progress. Saturday’s first half showed how much work remains to be done, whether Beamer will bite into the leading questions or not.
How to watch South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt
Who: South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt
When: 4 p.m. Saturday, October 16
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium in Colombia
Television: SEC network
This story was originally published October 9, 2021 5:58 pm.