Shane Beamer is navigating his way through his first off season as a head coach. So far, the South Carolina Gamecocks Spring practice has been about enthusiasm and learning. The new staff and players have all spoken about the renewed energy around the program over the past few months. Strength coach Luke Day has been mentioned multiple times for his hand in pushing the team forward in terms of energy and consistency during winter workouts. With a new staff taking over, learning is also a top priority during the off season.
South Carolina Gamecocks Spring Practice Focused On Enthusiasm And Learning
The team got three practices in before taking a break for the holiday weekend. South Carolina has taken advantage of the new NCAA regulations that allow for meetings and walk-throughs between players and coaches during the off season. This will certainly help accelerate the learning curve as the new staff implements their schemes on both sides of the ball. For a program coming off back-to-back poor seasons, the need for optimism and enthusiasm looms large. Beamer and his new staff have all spoken about how happy they are with the attitude and energy they’ve seen from the players.
First Time For Everything
Optimism is sometimes easy to come by when a new staff takes over a program, as there is nothing else to do but look forward. For South Carolina, that latter is especially true. Beamer is learning on job as a first time head coach. Many of the assistants are also in their first time at the SEC level. The unknowns heading into the 2021 season are both on the roster and under the headset for the team in garnet and black. This makes the Gamecocks Spring practice even more crucial to this program’s direction. Optimism is all well and good, but improving and winning will ultimately determine how long that lasts.
That is where the learning comes in. The ability to have meetings and walk-throughs have been a huge boost to this process. The players have gotten to start practice with more knowledge of the systems the new coaches are implementing. Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield spoke about players sitting in on meetings with the coaches, so the learning and communicating never stops.
The Gamecocks also welcome some new but experienced players to the roster this off season. They added eight players from the transfer portal, as this staff tried to fill some gaps in the roster. The most recognizable name among them is Ahmarean Brown who transferred from Georgia Tech. The sophomore wide receiver had 32 catches, 579 yards, and eight touchdowns in two years of play in the ACC. One of the more intriguing prospects coming in is Debo Williams of Delaware. The freshman linebacker was ultra productive and probably under recruited in high school, and he’ll look to bring aggression and play making to the defense.
Jason Brown and EJ Jenkins both transferred in to Columbia from St. Francis after their fall and subsequent spring seasons were both cancelled. Brown will add experience and versatility to the quarterback room. Jenkins was his favorite target, and at 6’8″ could be a match up problem for opponents. Jordan Strachan led the FBS in sacks in 2020 for Georgia State and will add depth at defensive end. Defensive backs David Spaulding and Carlins Platel will also be in garnet and black next season.
The transfers will help the new staff fill the holes in this roster, especially those at receiver and in the secondary. Those are the too most glaring that need immediate improvement, and each for separate reasons. the secondary is very thin on bodies with departures from last year’s team. They lost two guys to the NFL draft, and three more to the transfer portal. This position group lacks depth and experience, more so than any other on this roster. The Gamecocks Spring practice will be huge opportunity for players to step up and coaches to try and recognize who they can count on.
The Gamecocks have proven talent in the run game and along the offensive line, but the passing game has question marks. There are plenty of pass catching options, but that position group has a lot to prove in 2021. OrTre Smith‘s name was mentioned by Beamer as someone who has looked good through limited practice time. He showed plenty of potential as a freshman before injuries derailed his sophomore season. Smith could be a huge factor for this team if he is back to his best. Josh Vann, Jalen Brooks, and Rico Powers will need to step up at receiver as well.
Gamecocks Spring Practice Fueled By New Energy
The optimism and enthusiasm is beginning to resurface around this South Carolina program. This is usually the case when a new coach takes over. Obviously the results in the fall are what matter most. Only time will tell how things will shake out during the 2021 season. For now, the Gamecocks spring practice is a chance for this team to learn and improve. Energy and consistency are the two most prevalent themes being mentioned by the new coaching staff. They have twelve practices remaining to implement their plans and identify the players they can count on. There is a buzz back around this program, but only putting in the work will sustain the new optimism.
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