South Carolina Football: The Gamecock fanbase is demanding coaching changes

South Carolina football head coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football head coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina football is having a disastrous 2023 season. Year 3 of the Shane Beamer era was supposed to be another step forward for the Gamecocks, and fans were even willing to give a little extra grace as USC has had to play the country’s most difficult schedule. 7-5 or 8-4 was the expectation, 9 wins was an ambitious hope, and a 6-6 season was viewed as the floor.

That’s not what has transpired for the garnet and black this fall.

A debacle of 2014 proportions has unfolded for the South Carolina defense as the Gamecocks are the worst passing defense in the country and are not exactly world-beaters against the run. Any offense with a decent line and good receivers looks dominant against USC.

The Carolina offense hasn’t been terrible, but the offensive line’s dysfunction and poor play have created severe inconsistencies for what would otherwise be a good unit behind the play of Spencer Rattler, Xavier Legette, and Mario Anderson. Despite the emergence of Anderson, the run game ranks 122nd out of 130 FBS teams.

The Gamecocks now sit at 2-5 as one of the country’s most disappointing teams, and Coach Beamer has had a couple of perceived missteps in the media (admitting to breaking his foot kicking a cooler after the Florida loss, complaining about chain crews eating hot dogs, and an emotional outburst against his defense).

The fanbase is not happy, and they have every right to feel that way as the Gamecocks are failing in year 3 of what looked like a very positively trending rebuild. It doesn’t help that a record-breaking start to the 2024 recruiting cycle has slowed considerably.

The dissatisfaction in Columbia is so high that many South Carolina football fans are demanding that Beamer make changes to his coaching staff.

The most commonly fired coach in these online fanbase tirades is defensive coordinator Clayton White. White’s defense is ranked 120th out of 130, and the pass defense is 126th. The run defense isn’t good, either, but one great performance against Mississippi State disproportionately shifts the numbers toward the middle of the pack.

White’s 2021 and 2022 units had their fair share of struggles, as well, but the Gamecocks forced a large amount of turnovers that served as coverup for the defense’s blemishes. Elite man corners Cam Smith and Darius Rush helped 2021 and 2022 keep respectability, as well. The 2023 defense hasn’t had the luxury of turnovers or elite cornerbacks.

The fans, almost in cacophonous unity, are calling for Beamer to replace White.

Running backs coach Montario Hardesty is also a coach many fans want gone. During his time on the South Carolina football staff, the Gamecocks have struggled to have a consistent running game (137 yards per game in ’21, 118 in ’22, and 93 in ’23) despite having at least three NFL-caliber backs on the roster. USC has also struggled to keep running back talent on the roster as a number of ballcarriers left the program early for the NFL or via the transfer portal.

Offensive line coach Lonnie Teasley catches a lot of flack from the fanbase, as well, but the injury-riddled offensive line room makes it almost impossible to evaluate Teasley fairly for his first official season on the job despite the poor play up front.

Based on Beamer’s 2 1/2 years as the South Carolina football coach, coaching moves don’t seem likely right now. Former offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield was a dead man walking near the end of the 2022 season, but Beamer waited until the offseason and even allowed Satterfield to find another job at Nebraska instead of publicly firing him.

Shane Beamer is not on the hot seat as the head coach of the South Carolina football program, but fans are not happy with him right now. He would regain some favor with Gamecock Nation if he went ahead and made the inevitable move to fire White. If he waits, frustration will continue growing, and the offseason defensive coordinator search gets a later start for no reason.

In all likelihood, though, no coaching moves will be made in Columbia until the offseason. White is almost guaranteed to be fired, and a decision to move on from Hardesty would shock no one.

Speculation about DC candidates can happen later when a move is made, but for right now, the only thing that can appease South Carolina football fans during this disaster of a season (barring a miraculous turnaround) is for Beamer to do what needs to be done and part ways with Clayton White.

If he doesn’t, whether fairly or not, the fanbase’s ire will be turned toward him.

Related Story. South Carolina Football: The ugly truth about the Gamecock defense through six games. light