Beamer Makes South Carolina Debut in Spring Game

Dick Cox

April 27, 2021 at 2:24 pm.

The South Carolina Gamecocks, led by new head coach Shane Beamer, held their annual Garnet and Black Spring football game in front of an expanded crowd of 13,225 fans on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium.

The Spring game was a day late and 23 players short. The traditional game was postponed by a day date due to storms and poor weather in the Columbia, SC area on Saturday.

The team was not split up into two separate rosters due to injuries that required surgeries and rehab stints, as well as in-camp minor injuries. The game format was to play two 12-minute quarters. In the “second half,” the Gamecocks went through a handful of offensive versus defensive match-ups in competitive situations.

“Obviously the format was a little different for us today, primarily because of injuries,” Beamer said after the game. “I think we had 23 players that did not play today that would normally be playing if we had a game. We had two teams divided up and with the injuries we had, like three scholarship running backs out, we just couldn’t divide into two teams. We split it up like we did our other two scrimmages, with offense versus defense the first half and then the second half with competitions. A lot of those injuries are postseason surgeries, rehabs and other bumps and bruises that have happened in practice.

The Gamecocks were also without the services of 23 injured players that Beamer said would be ready to go full speed when fall camp begins. Carolina was without three of their scholarship running backs, including SEC leading rusher Kevin Harris and highly-touted freshman MarShawn Lloyd. This gave ZaQuandre White the opportunity to step up and shine. The senior running back was coming off a non-productive season last year and had something to prove.

White showed why he was named the Most Improved Player on the offensive side of the ball this spring, as he rushed 14 times for 95 yards with a touchdown to lead the Garnet team to a 14-10 win over the Black team. He got the scoring started for Garnet when he went over from 1-yard out on the first drive of the game.

The scrimmage was limited to just one half due to the rash of injuries. The second half was comprised of situational competitions between the offense and defense.

Defensive lineman Zacch Pickens recovered a fumble by the Garnet team which led to a Mitch Jeter 47-yard field goal to get the Black team on the board late in the first quarter.

Garnet went up 14-3 when tight end Jaheim Bell, pressed into service at running back, scored on a 2-yard run midway through the second quarter to put the Garnet team up, 14-3.

The final score of the game came when senior transfer quarterback Jason Brown connected with his running mate from FCS-level St. Francis, (Pa.), E.J. Jenkins, for an 11-yard scoring strike to pull Black team within 14-10.

After the game, Beamer named sophomore Luke Doty as the Gamecock starting quarterback heading into the Fall. “Unless something totally changes between now and when we watch the tape, Luke Doty is our starting quarterback,” Beamer said.

“Like every other position, that’s going to be competition throughout the summer. By no means are we anointing Luke, but he’s taken every rep with the first team all spring practice and I didn’t see anything today to make me think otherwise. He’s great.”

“We’re competing, don’t get me wrong. Luke has to continue to get better, Luke has to continue to progress over the summer, Luke has to have a great preseason training camp. But coming out of spring practice, he’s our starting quarterback and it’s his job to continue to earn that and continue to compete between now and the Eastern Illinois game.”

Doty completed 5-of-7 passes for 54 yards, and led the Garnet offense on 31 plays for 175 yards.

“Overall, I’m pleased we got out of it fairly healthy, a couple of minor ankle injuries, but nothing long-term. Now we go into the summer. A lot of them will be gone in May and then back in June for summer school. This is a huge summer for all of us, players and coaches.

“We have to take another step as a team. I just told them in the locker room there is no doubt we’ve gotten better as a football team from January to now, but it’s still not good enough. I’m excited about where we are. I love this group. They are hungry and do everything we ask,” said Beamer.

South Carolina opens the 2021 season on Saturday, September 4 against Eastern Illinois at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC.

South Carolina Garnet & Black Spring Football Game Report – YouTube 

2021 University of South Carolina Football Spring Awards

Joe Morrison Offensive Player of the Spring: Dakereon JoynerNick Muse

Rex Enright Defensive Player of the Spring: Kingsley Enagbare

Jim Carlen Special Teams Player of the Spring: Dakeron Joyner

The President’s Outstanding Student-Athlete Award: Dylan Wonnum

Harold White GPA Award – Defense: Zacch Pickens

Harold White GPA Award – Special Teams: Parker White

Most Improved – Offense: ZaQuandre White

Most Improved – Defense: Zacch Pickens

Most Improved – Special Teams: Brad JohnsonJosh Vann

Gamecock Toughness Award: Jovaughn GwynTonka Hemingway

South Carolina Spirit Award: Jalen Brooks