New South Carolina Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer is starting to put his staff together, announcing a batch of hires over the weekend — with at least one that might raise an eyebrow or two.
Current offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo will be retained, along with a few other holdovers: running backs coach Des Kitchings, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, and linebackers coach Mike Peterson. Program legend Connor Shaw, who spent time coaching the quarterbacks this past season, will also be on staff in a yet-to-be-announced role off the field.
Newcomers to the program include offensive line coach Will Friend (formerly of Tennessee and an associate of Bobo’s), tight ends coach Erik Kimrey (another Gamecock legend who is making the leap after an incredibly successful high school coaching career at Hammond), and associate head coach/special teams coordinator Pete Lembo (formerly at Memphis).
That leaves three spots left for Beamer to fill, with the most pressing being defensive coordinator. The Athletic has reported that former Vanderbilt head man Derek Mason is in the running, which for my money, would be a pretty exciting hire.
As for the hires that have already been made, I’ll admit to being underwhelmed. I think many fans would have preferred a total house cleaning after the Will Muschamp era, and keeping Bobo in particular just isn’t a move that’s going to fire anybody up. There’s an argument to be made that Bobo simply didn’t have the pieces to be successful in 2020 (particularly with the receiving corps being what it was), but there’s also reason to be critical about how the quarterback situation was handled, for example. This feels a little too much like Muschamp keeping Kurt Roper around to me (although I obviously hope I’m wrong). One of the advantages of hiring Beamer was supposed to be how cheap he was, which would allow South Carolina to break the bank for home-run coordinators. That assumption doesn’t seem to be holding up at the moment, but I assume financial considerations are definitely a motivating factor behind retaining four assistants.
How are y’all feeling about the staff so far?