If you were to look at the South Carolina football team right now, you’d see a coaching staff trying to rebuild a program that has fallen way off course. It’s not hard to notice the difference in playmakers between the Gamecocks and their opponent. So, when you start the season 2-2, with a lopsided loss to Georgia and a hard fought game against Kentucky, the coaching staff might see things a little differently. The noise outside the football complex is just a fan base wanting to win again, just like in Knoxville, College Station, Columbia and elsewhere.
As Shane Beamer knows, winning in the SEC is all that matters to the fan base and boosters, so when you start hearing that outside noise, two things can happen. One, you let the noise get to you and the coaching staff, which will never help the situation and only cause panic decisions. Two, you understand the system you’re trying to build and you don’t let it distract you from the overall goal of the program. Beamer has chosen option two, and he discussed ignoring the noise regarding his program.
“I’m not sure what the outside narrative is outside of this building, don’t really care, but I know in this building, we see how close we are,” Beamer said. “We as a team know that we have a lot to clean up, players and coaches. Details on the field, details off the field. We don’t think we’re on some sinking ship because we’re 2-2 and lost to 2 undefeated teams. It’s not like that at all.”
This statement makes perfect sense. You can’t expect an overnight miracle when you’re fighting for relevancy in the SEC. It wasn’t long ago that the Gamecocks were battling for position in the SEC East, looking to cause problems for other teams along the way, but this is a different stage of South Carolina football, a time in which this new staff cannot let this program take the deep dive into irrelevance. But right now, Shane Beamer wants the Gamecock fan base to know that his players realize how close they are to righting the ship.
“Things are never as good as they seem, never as bad as they seem, they’re somewhere in between,” Beamer said. “There was certainly a lot of bad in ways the other night, and certainly a lot of good as well. I think our players realize how close we are. It’s frustrating we weren’t able to get over the hump the other night.”
So, it should start this weekend when they will battle the Troy Trojans from the SunBelt conference. Now, don’t let the school name fool you, though I would imagine fans in the SEC know exactly who and what Troy can do, if you look past them. This Trojan team is in the top five nationally in sacks and yards allowed per game. Meaning, the Gamecocks better look at this game the same way they did against Kentucky, or they’ll be 2-3 on the season, come Sunday morning.
While the Gamecocks try to stay focused on the task at hand, they’re also trying to get their quarterback healthy. Luke Doty has been battling an injury since Fall Camp, so patience is another word that Shane Beamer likes to use. In the mean time, former GA Zeb Noland has started the first few games of the 2021 season. I get it, but some fans likely still wonder why the backup quarterback was a GA during the summer. It’s just the small things that fans will break down and question, which happens at every major program in the country.
Don’t blame the fans for the frustration — though I am not saying Beamer is — just understand the urgency to win. No one has to remind Beamer about the need to win or to get the ship going in the right direction. Beamer himself pointed out that he’s got a good plan and doesn’t feel the need to start making hasty decisions.
“You have to stick to the plan and just stay focused on the process,” Beamer added. “I’m not going to all of a sudden make rash decisions off of 4 games. We’re 4 games into Year 1, and we have a good plan for how we’re going to get this thing going. We’re still in September, have played 2 SEC games and 4 total. We’re not blowing up everything after 4 games. We’ve got good players, we’ve got good coaches, and we’ve got to perform better.”
Time will tell about how this 2021 Gamecocks team will be remembered, but right now, Shane Beamer is just worried about the next game.