South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer will have a different-looking coaching staff around him in 2024.
A couple of weeks ago, Beamer relieved running backs coach Montario Hardesty of his duties, and then word came out that the Gamecocks would be hiring long-time SEC assistant James Coley. However, news surfaced shortly after that Coley would be coaching wide receivers in Columbia.
That meant a move for former wide receivers coach Justin Stepp, one that has been expected to be to tight ends (if he stays with the South Carolina football program) as former tight ends coach Jody Wright accepted the head coaching job at Murray State last week.
Among all of the other coaching shifts, Marquel Blackwell was reported as the next running backs coach for the Gamecocks, but his hire has not been made official like Coley's.
A more behind-the-scenes coaching move also hit the South Carolina football program.
According to a report from FootballScoop.com's John Brice, Tyler Zielenske will be joining Jody Wright's staff at Murray State. He is expected to be named the special teams coordinator for the Racers, but it is unclear if he will have other duties (most special teams coordinators hold another role on staff, as well; Gamecock special teams coordinator Pete Lembo is the exception to this rule).
Zielenske was a special teams analyst for the Gamecocks in 2023 after being hired by special teams coordinator Pete Lembo to replace 2022-2023 offseason defection Stanton Weber who took the special teams coordinator job at Toledo. Working under Lembo is a nice distinguisher on special teams coaching resumes, so it wouldn't be surprising to see whoever replaces Zielenske get a bigger job after just one year, too.
The USC special teams unit was very average in 2023 after being exceptional (perhaps the best in all of college football) in 2021 and 2022. The Gamecocks will look to bounce back in the game's "third phase" in 2024, but they will be doing so without multi-year starter at kicker Mitch Jeter, who transferred to Notre Dame. Senior All-SEC contributors Kai Kroeger (punter) and Hunter Rogers (longsnapper) will return next season.