South Carolina football: will special teams improve in 2021?

Parker White #43. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Parker White #43. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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South Carolina wide receiver Dakereon Joyner (5).Gw43391 /


While the kicking game was okay last season, the same cannot be said for the return game. South Carolina finished dead last in the SEC in punt return average, and just ninth in kick return average at 19.7 yards per attempt.

Dakereon Joyner was the team’s best return man, totaling 165 yards on seven takebacks, and he’s back to provide the Gamecocks with somewhat of a presence on opposing kickoffs. The Gamecocks will certainly need someone else back there to help him out though, particularly with Joyner’s role on offense likely expanding in his junior season.

While the return teams were pretty average, the coverage teams were even worse. South Carolina ranked last in the league in kickoff coverage, and 11th in punt return yards allowed. These will be major areas of emphasis for coach Beamer and his staff, who will look to use the return game as another scoring avenue.

Everyone focuses on the success of the field goal kicker, but the return teams are equally important. They help the team win the field position battle, can force game changing turnovers, and will be a key focal point in the upcoming season.

OVERALL – Better

The Gamecocks will embrace Beamer Ball, as it makes special teams fun. It gives players in reserve roles an opportunity to make an impact, and can be used as a huge momentum shifter in close games.

Last year’s unit had little impact on the performance of South Carolina’s season, but you can bet that will change under coach Beamer.

Field goals, blocks, returns, onside kicks, fake punts. All can play a major role in the outcomes of games. With South Carolina having a number of toss-ups on the schedule, this is an area that the Gamecocks can outwork their opponents and squeak out a couple of wins. Look for the Gamecocks to utilize every advantage they can on special teams, as they’ll need to find additional avenues of scoring to help out a young offense.

More. South Carolina's most important game of '21.. light