South Carolina football: starting QB announced, other SEC Media Day takeaways

South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina football participated in SEC Media Days on Monday.

Shane Beamer took to the podium in Hoover, Alabama to participate in day one of the SEC Media Days. It was his first time taking part in the event, which he says was a dream come true. Everyone in attendance could see Beamer’s excitement for his newfound role in Columbia as he looks to turn around a program that’s just 6-16 in the last two seasons.

For the most part, SEC Media Days represent the start of ‘Talking Season,’ as coaches come in to talk about their expectations for the upcoming year, the health of their team, and their outlook for the future. Beamer was no different.

The South Carolina head coach spoke on a few key talking points, including letting fans in on who will likely be taking the first snap under center for the Gamecocks in early September. Let’s walk through a few topics touched upon by coach Beamer.

Luke Doty is still QB1

Doty left Spring practice as the starting quarterback, and his new head coach has said he’s done nothing to change that status.

"“Luke Doty is our starter… He’s done nothing over the summer time for us to change our thinking on that… He’s a phenomenal leader, athlete and a really good quarterback. He’s worked really, really hard with Marcus Satterfield, our offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach to improve everything from a fundamental standpoint to continue to get better as a quarterback. He’s kind of an old head in that room.”"

It’s odd hearing coach Beamer refer to Doty as ‘an old head’ seeing that he’s just beginning his sophomore season, and only has two starts under his belt. Still, that’s two more SEC starts than any other quarterback on the roster, which consists of transfer Jason Brown, freshman Colten Gauthier, and walk-on Connor Jordan.

It’s been Doty’s job for the taking, and he’s seemingly pulled away in the race. He’ll look to improve upon a season in which in completed 43-of-71 passes for 405 yards and two scores. Expect the South Carolina offense to utilize that athleticism that Beamer spoke about often. While coaching the offense at Oklahoma, Beamer and the Sooners saw a ton of success with dual-threat passers Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts. Can Doty be the next?

Health of the team/Vaccine status

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey opened up the Media Day event by talking about the vaccination status of league affiliates and the consequences for having to cancel a game during the season due to COVID tracing.

"“You’re expected to play as scheduled. That means your team needs to be healthy to compete, and if not, that game won’t be rescheduled.”"

Sankey indicated that games will not be rescheduled as they were last season, and that any missed meetings will result in forfeiture. South Carolina was one of just two SEC teams to make it through all 10 regular season games last year without having to reschedule. They’ll hope to keep that streak alive in 2021.

Also touched upon was the fact that each SEC team is looking to get to an 80% vaccination threshold by season’s start. The Gamecocks are one of eight affiliates that have not reached that mark, though coach Beamer stated that his guys are “rapidly approaching” the goal.

Recruiting at the podium

NCAA coaches aren’t allowed to specifically speak upon the recruitment of a student-athlete prior to their signing a letter of intent, but Beamer was able to send a not-so-subtle message to one of the nation’s top tight ends, and a huge priority target for the Gamecocks this offseason.

Oscar Delp, a pass catcher from Georgia, has narrowed his list of finalists to the home state Bulldogs and South Carolina. Quickly after taking a visit to Columbia, fans and players began using the hashtag #WeWantDelp as a way to express their desire to land the four-star prospect in the ’22 class.

The wave took social media by storm and has continued to pick up steam within Gamecock Nation. On Monday, though, Beamer made a small recruiting pitch to Delp, without breaking any NCAA rules, of course.

While at the podium, he made the statement, “We are going to utilize the tight end.” He later went on to play on the #WeWantDelp tag by saying, “WE WANT the premiere tight ends in America.”

The statement didn’t go unheard.

Hopefully the pitch will help land Delp in Columbia as South Carolina continues to work on filling out its recruiting cycle.

The postgame photo

The Gamecocks had some fun following SEC Media Days, continuing a tradition that was prominent under Steve Spurrier… a trip to Arby’s.

Beamer, Kingsley Enagbare, and Nick Muse teamed up to recreate a decade-old photo that showed Spurrier grabbing some lunch following a previous Media Day event. The picture soon went viral on social media.

Beamer has done everything right to this point, and while wins at SEC Media Days don’t convert to success on the field, the new head coach has been able to breath life into a program that had fallen on hard times. There’s a positivity and excitement for the future of South Carolina football.

Beamer closed by saying he’s more excited about the upcoming season than any other year of his previous coaching career. We are, too.

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