Here's why new South Carolina head football coach Shane Beamer retained assistant Mike Bobo

Eric Boynton

If Mike Bobo hadn't already been a part of South Carolina's staff this season, the veteran offensive coordinator would've been the first call new football coach Shane Beamer would've made to fill the position.

It was announced Sunday that Bobo would be retained in that role for the 2021 season, and Beamer gushed over the chance to work with him when he spoke to the media in a video news conference Monday. Bobo just completed the first season of a two-year, fully guaranteed contract that pays him $1.2 million annually. He served as interim head coach the final three games this season after Will Muschamp's firing.

"He's a guy I think a lot of as a person, as a recruiter, as a human being," Beamer said. "I love his family and am so thankful he's staying here with us. If Mike had not been on the staff here when I got this job, he would've been my first call as offensive coordinator. I think that much of him. You look at what he did at the University of Georgia, and his track record of success for a long, long time speaks for itself. What he did at Colorado State with their offense speaks for itself.

"And not to make excuses for him, but he came into a tough situation in Columbia. A new system, no spring practice, COVID, an unusual summer and season and certainly I'm not going to hold that against him. You look at what South Carolina did this season running the football and we're excited about what we'll be able to do going forward adding to that."

South Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Bobo during his three-game stint as interim head coach.

If Beamer's father -- longtime former Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer -- had gotten his way around seven years ago when his son was an assistant on the Hokies staff, the younger Beamer and Bobo would've become coworkers. Shane Beamer said Virginia Tech wanted to hire Bobo as its offensive coordinator to the point where the university sent a plane to Georgia, where Bobo held the same role, "to pick him up that he never got on. He had a hard time leaving Athens, which I certainly understand."

It could appear Beamer and Bobo have opposite views on how to conduct a successful offensive system in terms of approach and scheme. Bobo a run-first guy determined to establish success between the tackles, which leads to downfield shots in the play-action game. Beamer has spent the past three seasons as an assistant with an Oklahoma team that does a multitude of things under coach Lincoln Riley, one of the nation's most highly-regarded offensive minds.

South Carolina coach Shane Beamer has been busy assembling a roster.

"I hear people say (Bobo's) offense is completely different than what we did at Oklahoma," Beamer said. "That couldn't be further from the truth. Anybody that says that hasn't watched Oklahoma play a lot of football. People hear 'air-raid' at Oklahoma and think we throw it 70 times a game and are going up-tempo and all that stuff, and that wasn't us at all. Oklahoma's offense has set records year in and year out and we've done it actually running the ball more than we've thrown it the last five years."

In Riley's six seasons with the Sooners -- the first two as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach -- the team has averaged 526 rushing attempts to 396 passing attempts. That's while producing back-to-back Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018).

Beamer joked when mentioning fans like to describe Bobo as old-school because he utilizes a fullback, a position that has mostly become extinct at most Power Five and professional teams. Oklahoma uses the fullback as well.

"We call it an 'H-back' to make it sound fancier," he said, "but it's the same thing and we do a lot with them, so offensively it's very similar."

South Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Bobo (Travis Bell Photo)

Beamer called getting to work with Riley and learn his offense his "sole reason" for leaving his job at Georgia. Now the plan is to incorporate the best of what he learned with the Sooners into the most successful traits of Bobo's approach.

"There are certainly some aspects of Mike's offense that I want to keep," Beamer said. "He and I have talked about it and he's excited being able to implement a lot of the things we did at Oklahoma. I think some things we were doing were pretty on the cutting edge offensively and I'm pretty pumped about the opportunity to blend those two systems together.

USC finished 10th in the SEC in scoring (23.5 points per game), 11th in total yardage (355.1) and 13th in passing yards (187.2). The bright spot was a game that finished seventh in the conference averaging 167.9 yards and produced the league's leading rusher, Kevin Harris, who averaged 113.8 yards per game and finished with 15 rushing touchdowns. It was the fifth-highest rushing total in school history and the program's first 1,000-yard rusher in seven years.

Bobo didn't have very good personnel with a receiving corps ravaged by injuries and opt-outs. The Gamecocks also lost their top offensive signee before the season when blue-chip running back MarShawn Lloyd tore a knee ligament.

South Carolina offensive coordinator then interim head coach Mike Bobo with quarterback Luke Doty

"We've got to get more playmakers developed in this program and have to recruit more playmakers," Beamer said. "I don't care (who you are), you've got to have great players, and we've got a really good group of guys in our program already we can build around and then we've got the opportunity to add to those guys." 

Beamer acknowledged there's always a thought of simply cleaning house when taking over a new program and even talked Sunday to another incoming head coach who said he planned on keeping nobody from the former staff. Beamer also said he spoke with two current SEC head coaches who called to say they thought retaining Bobo "was a big-time hire."

Beamer added, "There's different guys out there, flashy names and all that stuff, I get it. But a guy that believes in what I believe in, that wants to be at Carolina and has done it for a long, long time. Mike Bobo has the respect of coaches across the country. He'll have a huge impact on us."