LOOK: Beamer, Gamecocks recreate iconic Spurrier photo at Arby's

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247Sports.com 19 July, 2021 - 07:11pm 4 views

When is SEC Media Days?

SEC Media Days start Monday, July 19, and run through Thursday, July 22. The event will be live streamed on fuboTV. The event certainly will have its fair share of talk about the College Football Playoff expansion as well as name, image and likeness. There will also be a number of first-time SEC coaches at the podium. al.comSEC Media Days 2021 live stream: How to watch online for free, TV, time, full schedule

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Whenever SEC Media Days rolls around, the picture of former South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier with his shades on in front of a soda fountain at an Arby’s in Alabama resurfaces on Twitter. On Monday, it didn’t need to.

Following his first trip to SEC Media Days, new Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer stopped at the fast food restaurant and recreated the image, sunglasses and all. Player reps Kingsley Enagbare and Nick Muse even played a role in the picture, serving as the father and son watching the legendary football coach pick his beverage of choice as he waited for his curly fries.

Beamer was passionate in his long opening comments in the main conference room of The Wynfrey Hotel earlier in the day. He ended his monologue speaking about his excitement about the future of Gamecocks football, a program he hopes to take to even higher heights than those he experienced as an assistant coach under Spurrier from 2007-10. 

"All of these Gamecock club events that I go to, any interview that I do, anywhere that I go in public, everyone tells me that there's never been more excitement about South Carolina football than there is right now, and I'm with them," Beamer said. "I've never been more excited about a football season. I've never been more excited about the future of a program than what I am right now. We've got great people in this program. Absolutely, there have been bumps in the road, but I've loved every second of being the head football coach at the University of South Carolina since the day I got hired.

"My wife and I bought a house. We haven't moved in. We're renovating it. We're still living in a condo 100 yards from my office. So all I do is wake up early each morning and go into that facility, and I can't wait to get to work each day and move this program forward and try and make this program better.

"There have been some great days in Columbia, South Carolina, some great days for South Carolina football, but I am 100 percent convinced that the best days of South Carolina football are right in front of us, and I couldn't more excited about that, couldn't be more excited about being the head football coach of South Carolina."

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Q&A with Shane Beamer at SEC Media Days

247Sports.com 20 July, 2021 - 11:01am

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HOOVER, Ala. – South Carolina head football coach Shane Beamer held his first SEC Media Days press conference on Monday afternoon. The new leader of the Gamecocks football program took to the podium in the main conference room of the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel, presented opening comments about the start to his tenure in Columbia, and fielded questions from media members in attendance. 

Below are some of Beamer's opening comments followed by the entire question and answer portion of his press conference.

"All of these Gamecock club events that I go to, any interview that I do, anywhere that I go in public, everyone tells me that there's never been more excitement about South Carolina football than there is right now, and I'm with them. I've never been more excited about a football season. I've never been more excited about the future of a program than what I am right now. We've got great people in this program. Absolutely, there have been bumps in the road, but I've loved every second of being the head football coach at the University of South Carolina since the day I got hired.

"My wife and I bought a house. We haven't moved in. We're renovating it. We're still living in a condo 100 yards from my office. So all I do is wake up early each morning and go into that facility, and I can't wait to get to work each day and move this program forward and try and make this program better.

"There have been some great days in Columbia, South Carolina, some great days for South Carolina football, but I am 100 percent convinced that the best days of South Carolina football are right in front of us, and I couldn't more excited about that, couldn't be more excited about being the head football coach of South Carolina."

BEAMER: "No, certainly very, very proud of that. Ever since I got into coaching -- really you go back to when I was playing high school football, growing up in Blacksburg, Virginia, there were kids I played with who said, The only reason you're the starting whatever on the football team or the baseball team is because your dad's the head coach at Georgia Tech.

"Then I got into coaching. Whether it's right or wrong, I always tried to keep that chip on my shoulder or edge about myself to prove myself for sure. Certainly, I'm very proud of that. I got into coaching in 2000 as a graduate assistant with Georgia Tech with George O'Leary, and part of that was wanting to get out on my own and make my own name and not just go work for my dad as a graduate assistant and not be Shane Beamer, but to be Frank's son. It was important for me to go out and develop my own reputation and contacts. I did that, and I was thankful to be part of fantastic programs during that time and places I coached.

"I went back and worked for him. Very, very proud of him. I learned a lot from him. I still rely on him a lot now for advice and things like that as well. I know he's excited about me being in this position and excited to be around Columbia quite a bit also."

BEAMER: "Kevin is very tough, very physical. He's a guy that it's hard for one person to bring him down. He's a downhill runner that's really worked to improve his game, not just carrying the football, running routes, pass protection, all that stuff.

"We hired a running backs coach in Montario Hardesty who played the position at a high level here in the SEC and in the NFL, and Coach Hardesty has done a great job with Kevin and all of our backs as well, bringing those guys along.

"I think that's the biggest thing for Kevin is continuing to build up his strength and getting healthy, increasing that durability to be a running back in this league, and we've got to be able to help him as well. I hope he has the year that he had last year, but I hope we also have other running backs that do that as well to help lessen the load also."

BEAMER: "I was watching Peter Burns and Chris this morning, and they were doing their top five cliches, and this is probably going to be No. 6 if it didn't make the top five, and that's to be the very best team we can be at the end of the season. I know it's cliche, but it's true. Right now we're trying to do the very best we can do right here on Monday. Back in Columbia, our guys worked out this morning, and us as coaches and players that are here today.

"Let's move this program forward today and let's try to get better each and every week and be the best we can be at the end of the season and take our head out of the water and see where we are at that point. Hopefully, we're the very best that we can be, and we've reached our potential for sure.

"Then the plan, I'm not talking about something that hasn't been done before at South Carolina. In the last ten years, or my last year at South Carolina, we played for the SEC Championship. We beat Alabama when they were No. 1 in the country at Williams-Brice Stadium. We beat Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and our in-state rival all in the same season. Within the last ten years, we've been in the midst of consecutive 11-win seasons. Within the last ten years, we were in the midst of beating our in-state rival five years ago.

"We're not talking about something that was 40 years ago. It was recently done here in South Carolina. We're not far from getting back there and doing it again. That's our plan, to not just get back to that point, but to be better than we've ever been, and that's what we're working towards every day."

BEAMER: "He did, good question. No, he did. I can remember a couple times that the Alabama job came open, Alabama reaching out to him at Virginia Tech for sure. You talk about the SEC. My dad got his start in coaching at the Citadel down in Charleston, South Carolina, so he saw up close and personal what the potential of the South Carolina football program was and is.

"I can remember all those years growing up he always used to talk about South Carolina as a job that he thought had unlimited potential and had every resource you needed to be successful. I can remember Mike McGee, the previous athletic director at South Carolina, sitting in our living room in Blacksburg, Virginia, interviewing my dad when he hired Lou Holtz, and things worked out well for South Carolina, certainly things worked out well for Virginia Tech, because after that was when Michael Vick came to town, and we played for the National Championship. But certainly he considered this league has great respect for it, like I do."

BEAMER: "Not really. I've never thought that. I got hired -- with the early signing period, for any new coach coming in, it's going to be tough. Because I got hired, and I think a week and a half later was when Signing Day was.

"Now, at that time, there were very few young men committed to the South Carolina football program. All of those guys stayed committed, but because we had such a low number, it really allowed me to jump in as a head coach, hire a staff, figure out what our schemes are going to be, figure out what we have from a personnel standpoint, and then utilize the month of January and then every month since then to add to this roster and increase it.

"So certainly would I have liked to have been the head coach and have a lot more time before the December signing period? Yes, but so many of those guys made decisions before I even got hired, but I really like what we've done to the roster since I got hired.

"When I got hired that first week of December, our roster now is so much better than what it is now. I don't mean that as a negative, I mean we've added a lot of great pieces through the transfer portal and through high school recruiting as well.

"As we all know, there's a lot of young men that fall through the cracks in that early signing period, and we were able to identify those guys and recruit them and sign them in January."

BEAMER: "I think each coach is different in who he wants to hire and bring into the program. Certainly I hired Marcus, he had NFL experience, which was really appealing. He ran a part of the offense that LSU ran in 2019 because that's what they were running with the Carolina Panthers last season.

"More importantly than that, I know what kind of coach Marcus Satterfield is. We were graduate assistants together. It helped that he was with the Panthers last season, but he's someone that for years, I knew if I ever had the opportunity to become a head coach, he's someone I wanted to get on my staff at some point.

"In regards to personnel, I know me personally, we always want to be an offense that has the flexibility and the multiplicity to, whatever the strength of our offense is personnel-wise, let's have a system that's flexible enough to adapt to that. If it's two tight ends and three running backs are the best players we have on offense, then let's go. If it's four wide receivers and a tight end, then let's go. If it's a running back and four tight ends, whatever it may be, we want to be able to adjust to it.

"That was a great lesson I learned from Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma. Our offense in 2018 out in Norman with Kyler Murray and CeeDee Lamb and Hollywood Brown was a lot different than what it was in 2019 with Jalen Hurts at quarterback, and then it was different in 2020 with Spencer, and we were -- if you talk about 12 personnel and two tight ends on the field, my first year at Oklahoma, we very rarely had two tight ends on the field, whereas the last couple years, that's about all we did.

"So whatever the strengths of our offense is, we want to get those guys on the field. I feel like we've got assets there with Nick Muse, and I mentioned Jaheim Bell earlier, and a lot of other guys in that tight end room as well that we want to get the ball to."

BEAMER: "Great respect for the program. I was a graduate assistant at Tennessee back in 2002 or '3, working for John Chavis and Phillip Fulmer, and we actually went out to visit Texas A&M one off-season, and that was my first time ever to College Station. Then when I was coaching at Oklahoma, I was on a recruiting trip to College Station two or three years ago and drove through and was just blown away by what had been done there from a facilities standpoint.

"Great respect for their program. Great respect for Coach Fisher, a passionate fan base, just like ours as well. Being in that part of the country, coaching at Oklahoma, I know a lot about Texas football from being a part of that.

"Love the matchup. Obviously, it will be a huge challenge for us. They're a really talented team. They were one of the best teams in the country last year. I'm sure they will be again this year. I have a lot of friends in that program, and I'm eager for my first trip to a game in College Station this year."

BEAMER: "No, it's a great question. I don't want to ever get away from hand me your son and we'll help develop him on and off the field to leave here with a degree from South Carolina and a better young man than what you gave him to, but certainly there's college athletics is different.

"I'm an old-school guy at heart and love the college game and what it's about. I love the fact that you can get a 17-, 18-year-old young man in your program and then four years later watch him graduate, in addition to now I'm getting calls to go to their weddings and they just had babies and things like that.

"I got into this business because of the players. I love kids. I love coaching these young men that I coach, and I'll never waver from that for sure, but certainly it's a different time now with everything that's going on throughout college athletics as well.

"But I think that's regardless of now or five years ago, in a lot of ways, that's the chair that you're in. I've learned now, being in this chair as a head coach, I feel like there's six weeks since I got hired, I didn't do anything football related. It was everything else that comes along with being a head coach. That's part of it, the CEO/general manager aspect of the job, but at the end of the day, it's always about the young men in our program and always will be, and I couldn't be more fired up about the group of guys we have in Columbia."

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Beamer stresses importance of tight ends, Delp reacts

247Sports.com 20 July, 2021 - 11:01am

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It’s no secret the Gamecocks are heavily recruiting four-star tight end Oscar Delp (Cumming, Ga./West Forsyth), who officially visited Columbia in June and has the Gamecocks in his final group of schools he’s considering. A #WeWantDelp hashtag has gone viral on social media since he spoke so well of his visit to campus. On Monday, Beamer took advantage of his time on SEC Network and did a little recruiting in front of the microphone.

“We want the premier tight ends in America, and that's the way we're recruiting now as well, to go get those guys as well," Beamer said in the opening comments of his press conference in the main conference room of The Wynfrey Hotel.

Gamecocks tight ends coach Erik Kimrey made sure that video made it to Twitter.

The vision @CoachSBeamer and @Coach_Satt have for the Tight End position is premier! #TE2Win pic.twitter.com/BBcCl0u0Xe

Shortly after Beamer’s comments hit social media, so did reaction from Delp, courtesy of Brett Greenberg.

Delp has Carolina, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, and Michigan in his final group. With a 0.9574 247Sports Composite rating, he’s considered the nation’s No. 99 overall prospect and No. 3 tight end recruit.

"The tight end position is something that's near and dear to me, something I've coached the last five years," Beamer said. "In my career, we're always going to utilize the tight end. Every donor or booster club event that I go to, that's the one question I get asked, are we going to throw the tight end? We are going to throw to the tight end. 

"We've utilized those guys in the past when I've been at Oklahoma, and we'll continue to. One of those tight ends is here today in Nick Muse, a fantastic older player for us, and Jaheim Bell is another one we have high hopes for as well. That position will always be a key part of our offense at South Carolina."

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Live Updates From Day 1 of 2021 SEC Media Days

Bama Maven 19 July, 2021 - 12:10am

At least in terms of football in the South. 

Monday morning, the 2021 SEC Media Days will kick off in the familiar setting of the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, where the nearly-annual event has been held for most of the last 20 years. 

However, it'll be the first appearance for the eight head coaches who were hired either in 2020 or 2021, as last year's event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic: Arkansas’ Sam Pittman, Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin, Mississippi State’s Mike Leach, Missouri’s Eli Drinkwitz last year, along with newcomers Bryan Harsin with Auburn, South Carolina’s Shane Beamer, Tennessee’s Josh Heupel, Vanderbilt’s Clark Lea.

Although this year's event will go on, numerous COVID-19 protocols remain in place. including the SEC issuing significantly fewer credentials than usual.

BamaCentral will still have wall-to-wall coverage.

Check out All Things Bama Podcast: Previewing 2021 SEC Media Days, and also our live thread on the BamaCentral forums.

The commissioner is at the podium, and we're under way. He starts by quoting Bob Dylan, the "The Times They Are A-Changin’" second verse:

For the wheel’s still in spin

And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’

For the loser now will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin’

"We need change," Sankey says, setting the tone for the week. 

• What you don't see during Sankey's speech are the screens on both sides of him. They include his tweets that are going out as the same time about how the SEC did not panic when other leagues decided to cancel their fall football season.

• Sankey notes that says that when SEC games go on ESPN/ABC in 2024 more kickoff times will be announced over the summer.

• "As we talk about change and the economics of college sports, we need to remember that college sports—through what are often identified as “non-revenue sports”—provides the feeder system for Olympians. Change college sports and you change our Olympic system."

• Sankey: 185 SEC athletes opted out of last season. Says that the SEC did not have any sports dropped during the height of the pandemic, which is something to be proud of. 

• Over half of our universities experienced a national championship moment since January of this year. "This happened because we tried when it was difficult."

• Six of 14 SEC football teams have reached 80 percent vaccine threshold. Sankey does not disclose which ones. "That number needs to grow and grow rapidly," he said. "We are learning how to manage through a COVID environment but we don’t yet have control over the COVID environment." With six weeks to go before kickoff, now is the time to seek vaccination.

• "It's not a political football," Sankey said of the vaccine.

• We must adapt. "I've been at fault - it's easy to criticize the NCAA."

• Over 13,000 student-athletes entered the transfer portal, and over 11,000 still remain in it.

• “Those accused of violations deserve a fair and timely outcome,” Sankey on NCAA investigations.

• We need a federal NIL law for consistency. We're ready to engage in a national dialogue about what's expected our of college athletics. 

• "NCAA rules can no longer resolve key issues."

• Wraps up with saying again "The Times Are A-Changin’ ... "The times are a changing. It's not simply a song lyric, it's a reality. It's an uncomfortable reality but that's how progress is made."

• Q&A part begins. First question is if your game doesn't happen do you forfeit this season. "You hope to not have disruptions but hope is not a plan." He recommended removing roster minimums and you play as planned. If you can't, the game would not be rescheduled (and that's when forfeiting comes into play). 

• Another theme from all the conferences is developing: If you can't play, you forfeit. No more no-contests this year

• Breaking away from the NCAA “is not the focus.”

• A uniform drug policy for the SEC is something that’s not being discussed. It’s still up to the individual schools to test and enforce.

• "450 pages of the NCAA Manual has seemed less relevant than it (ever) has before." ... "I'm not convinced you can put everyone in the room and have the needed outcomes. That doesn't mean everyone is detached ... I don't know the path forward."

Mullen was asked how many players have been vaccinated, and he didn't directly answer the question. "We're getting very close to the high numbers that you need to be at."

• Mullen says he's been told RB Demarkus Bowman will be eligible this season.

• Mullen's talking up the "attitude" of his defense. Knows it'll be huge for this season. (Added note: Gene Chizik didn't hold back, "They embarrassed.")

• First off-the-wall question. Dan Mullen asked which is his favorite Star Wars movie. Didn't answer. Said the other part of the question about CB Jaydon Hill was easier. 

• Mullen almost always takes a shot at media days at the predicted order of finish and rankings. He used to always point out that Mississippi State never finished last when he was there despite regularly being picked there. He's reminding everyone today that Florida won the SEC East after Georgia was picked first last year. 

• Mullen takes question about facing Alabama for the first time at home in 10 years to lobby to do away with the permanent crossover game between divisions. Gators get LSU every year. 

• Mullen was asked about signing so many standout wide receivers out of the state of Florida. "No one asked me my opinion about ratings" and then shifted gears and talked up Florida. 

• "We brought in Jake Peets and DJ Mangus to run Joe Brady's offense." Bet the offensive coordinators really appreciated that. 

• How many players have vaccinated. Orgeron dodges it as well, "I can't answer that" but adds that most of them are.

• On new coaches: When I was interviewing them, I was pretending to be one of our players. I wanted to see how well they communicated. The coaches we hired are about 20 years younger on average.

• On Joey Blackwell's question on NIL: Orgeron smiles, says he's all for it. "Whatever we can give to our players legally, I think they deserve it." Adds that when it's time to focus on football, they need to focus on football. 

• Orgeron says LSU will play a lot more zone and players won't be switching off as much. The idea is to keep the ball in front of of the secondary, and make plays. ... DBU can't handle man? 

• Orgeron was asked about legal issues, and how his name is now involved in lawsuits, declined to comment. "Thanks for asking, though." Yeah, the body language and the look from his eyes was the telling thing there. (What's Cajun for ticked off?)

• Orgeron admits that he didn't interview some coaches face-to-face before hiring them, but says it wasn't a big deal. Still would have hired Bo Pelini regardless. "It just didn't work out"

• Orgeron said the biggest lesson he learned from 2020: Do it the way I want. If it's not the way I want it I'm going to fix it.

• Jordan Rodgers just admitted that he used to cheat on tests by trying to get answers off the person next to him. Said when the teacher gave out 3-4 versions of the same test it messed him up. When they called him on it he said he tried and failed, so he really didn't cheat. Roman Harper tried to help him out with the old SEC line "If you aren't cheating you aren't trying." Not a good look for the network today. 

• "I believe the best days of South Carolina football are in front of us and I couldn't be more excited to be the head coach at South Carolina."

• "I learned under Lincoln Riley that you better be able to adjust your offense to your personnel."

• Here's the thing that will get the attention of Alabama fans. Says Alabama reached out to his father Frank about the head coaching job multiple times.

• Went 12 minutes on opening statement, but was energetic and prepared. Beamer went over pretty well. 

The first day of media days means new media guides, which include updated rosters. Here are the assigned jerseys numbers for the latest Crimson Tide additions: 

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