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FILM ROOM: South Carolina preview, Beamer is changing the Gamecocks for the better

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Like father, like son…

Vanderbilt v South Carolina
Shane Beamer
Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Beamer ball time! Who all remembers the Frank Beamer-led Virginia Tech teams who always seemed to block a kick, get a turnover, or run some gadget play that actually worked? Shane Beamer apparently remembers very well and paid attention to his dad’s ways. The opponent Saturday night is not more talented than the Aggies, but they are gritty, opportunistic, and have a nose for the ball.

The Gamecocks rank top five in the nation in the following categories:

  • Defensive TDs (3)
  • Interceptions (10)
  • Total Turnovers (16)
  • Blocked Punts (3)
  • Blocked kicks (3)
  • *** Unofficial stat - Swinging gate plays that work (1)

South Carolina also has a fair share of issues that the Aggies can exploit. Yes, the defense gets turnovers, especially interceptions (here’s looking at you Calzada… be careful). However, the run defense is not good...at all. The Cocks of Game allow 151.3 yards per game and rank in the lower half of the country’s rush defense. And for all the positive turnovers, USC has created, their offense has given up the ball 14 times (120th in the country). Another stat that surely will have Mike Elko salivating this week is South Carolina’s inability to move the sticks, they rank 101st in first downs gained.

Let’s check out the tape and look at some of the good, bad, and ugly for the upcoming opponent.

THE GOOD

First, here is one of South Carolina’s six blocked kicks on the year. The level of preparation and success in special teams makes it apparent the Aggies must be ready Saturday night. Let us not forget Alabama’s blocked punt for a TD two games back that almost ruined an epic night.

Next, we look at another staple of Beamer ball… the swinging gate (any gadget play). This team is not about tricking opponents, but about applying pressure at ALL TIMES. You cannot take a breath because the situation is one that “normally” wouldn’t warrant a trick play. If Beamer finds a weakness on film or can catch a team napping, this will happen…

Josh Vann is a legit threat in the passing game, with 399 yards on the year, averaging 18.4 yards a catch. Shane Beamer spent the last few years as the Assistant Head Coach under Lincoln Riley at OU, and it is apparent he picked up a thing or two. On this big play, USC uses tempo to get a huge Vann reception vs Georgia.

Beamer doesn’t have a roster full of Vann’s yet or OU-level speed, but he definitely knows how to put his playmakers in positions to shine. The Aggies were gashed for big plays earlier in the year vs Arky, let’s see if that is a thing of the past. Here are two more huge plays vs UGA that Vann made, this kid is scary good.

Jaylan Foster is a turnover machine with four picks, has 2 sacks, and leads the team in tackles with 58. The Aggie Offense needs to know where number 12 is at all times.

THE BAD

This defense gets gashed in the run game and it doesn’t matter if it’s against Troy, UGA or Eastern Illinois. Nothing fancy here in the clips below, Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane should eat well Saturday night.

THE UGLY

Quarterback play has been inconsistent and interceptions have been aplenty, it looks like the 23-year-old grad transfer will get the nod Saturday night. With Kyle Field rocking and Mike Elko sending various looks, it could spell a long night for Zeb Noland.

Giving up big plays through the air has been the secondary’s Achilles heel. I think it’s a combination of learning a new scheme and playing aggressive, remember this group has 10 interceptions. They bite hard on play action, and you can’t blame them for trying to help a hurting front seven against the run. If Calzada can be patient, we could see some huge strikes of play fakes, like these:

Overall this matchup tilts heavily in A&M’s favor, but South Carolina is a well-coached, scrappy team. If Texas A&M executes and plays relatively clean, this should be a stress-free game. But, if the Aggies play sloppy or start slow, South Carolina is fully capable of making it a long and miserable night. The talent level is a mismatch, and I think the Aggies are coming into their own this year… I think Kyle Field is deafening during the game and the 12th Man leaves happy Saturday night.

Alabama v Texas A&M Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images