Shane Beamer is on the ground in Columbia, and movement on his initial South Carolina staff is afoot.
First off, the word in the coaching profession is Beamer is expected to target Garrett Riley as his offensive coordinator.
Riley is, of course, the younger brother of Lincoln Riley, whom Beamer spent the past three years working for as assistant head coach and tight ends coach. The younger Riley is in his first season as SMU’s offensive coordinator, and prior to that spent time in the Carolinas as Appalachian State’s running backs coach. Riley followed his brother at Texas Tech and East Carolina, and also deposited a stint at Kansas.
Riley has helped the Mustangs rank 24th nationally in yards per play (up from 40th a year ago), 17th in scoring and 15th in passing.
However, it is not a sure thing Beamer will be able to secure Riley’s services, who could have other suitors as the market ramps up. SMU is not currently scheduled to play another game this regular season.
Elsewhere, sources anticipate Beamer to retain quarterbacks coach Connor Shaw and linebackers coach Rod Wilson.
Shaw is one of the most beloved Gamecocks in program history, earning a 27-5 record as a quarterback from 2010-13. His time briefly overlapped with Beamer, who spent the last of his four years as a Gamecocks assistant in 2010.
Wilson is another alum who joined the staff in 2020 after serving as assistant special teams coach for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. He previously spent 2013-16 as the safeties coach at Charleston Southern following the conclusion of a 6-year NFL career.
Just In: A first look at Shane Beamer arriving at the @GamecockFB ops building.
I asked Beamer how’s it feel to be back in Columbia and he told me, “It’s awesome. It’s great to be home.” Beamer will be introduced to the team with USC AD Ray Tanner at 3:30 @wachfox pic.twitter.com/f1tZyj6Z3r
— Mike Uva (@Mike_Uva) December 6, 2020
Beamer’s defensive coordinator search could go in a number of directions, but the names mentioned most commonly in the profession are North Carolina’s Jay Bateman and Coastal Carolina’s Chad Staggs.
Bateman has no prior working relationship with Beamer, but did coordinate defenses at Army while South Carolina president Bob Caslen was president of the U.S. Military Academy.
Staggs has spent his entire career in the Carolinas — he and Beamer overlapped in Columbia for a year; Beamer was South Carolina’s cornerbacks coach and Staggs a defensive GA — and currently runs the No. 11 scoring defense in the country at Coastal. His Chanticleers defense held BYU to 17 points on Saturday night; the Cougars had been held under 40 just once in nine games previously.
The other question here is whether Hall of Fame defensive coordinator Bud Foster will assist Beamer in some capacity. Foster, of course, had tenure running one of college football’s best defenses for Frank Beamer. Foster’s relationship with the Beamer family stretches back to when Shane was four years old.
Beamer’s staff assembly is in its beginning stages, and we’ll update as more becomes clear. In the meantime, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.