Why South Carolina's Shane Beamer said Georgia's Kirby Smart 'made me a better football coach'
COLUMBIA — South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer describes his time coaching under Kirby Smart at Georgia as the defining years of his career.
The Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1 SEC) will face No. 2 Georgia (2-0, 0-0) on Saturday (noon, ESPN) at Williams-Brice Stadium for the first time since Beamer's move to Columbia.
"Kirby Smart made me a better football coach," Beamer said. "That was a really beneficial two years to be with him. It was a great opportunity for me ... to come in and see the whole Nick Saban, Alabama process and see it implemented from Day 1."
Beamer served as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator from 2016-18 at Georgia. He also worked alongside the coach of last week's opponent, Arkansas' Sam Pittman, who was the offensive line coach.
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"That (first) year was not easy — we lost to Vanderbilt at home, we lost to Georgia Tech at home," Beamer said. "To see how ... (Smart) continued to build the program to where in Year 2 we won the Rose Bowl and played for a national championship ... there's a lot of things we do (at South Carolina) that I took directly from my time at Georgia."
Georgia leads the series with South Carolina 53-19-2, and the Gamecocks have not beaten the Bulldogs at home since 2014. Their last victory was a 20-17 upset in 2019.
The defending national champion comes to Columbia on Saturday with 30 plus-point victories over Oregon and Samford. Beamer said Georgia's dominance has made scouting the Bulldogs a challenge.
"It's not a huge body of work because they've had two blowout wins, so you're guessing a little bit," Beamer said. "They haven't had to do a lot obviously the first two weeks ... They're just doing a good job of being efficient and protecting the football, and then defensively, kind of same thing. They're very multiple on defense."
Though he may not be a familiar face to Beamer, the Gamecocks also have history with another member of the Georgia coaching staff. Former head coach Will Muschamp, who was fired midway through the 2020 season, will return to Columbia as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach for the Bulldogs.
South Carolina running back Marshawn Lloyd, who was recruited under Muschamp, said he has always had a positive relationship with the former coach but has no qualms about playing against him Saturday.
"Coach Muschamp was a big reason I came here. He's a great coach and I love him," Lloyd said. "There's no hard feelings ... but things had to change."
Contact Emily Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @eaadams6.