Some penalties simply make coaches sick, USC’s Shane Beamer says

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Shane Beamer has called South Carolina’s penalties “atrocious.”

He worked to bring penalties into focus ahead of the East Carolina game, but the Gamecocks still saw seven yellow flags dropped in Greenville, North Carolina, accounting for a loss of 55 yards. South Carolina had eight penalties called for 61 yards in its season opener against Eastern Illinois.

“That was the disappointing thing about Saturday,” Beamer told reporters Tuesday. “I obviously did a crap job because we made a big point of emphasis about keeping our poise and composure against East Carolina. Not a shot at East Carolina, but there were some plays (in ECU’s game) at App State where it got a little chippy. We made a big point with our guys last week of, if we get in this situation, we’re not turning it into a one-on-one war of words and battle where we’re talking — don’t even talk to them, just go play.

“We obviously, I guess, mind-tricked ourselves because we ended up being the team that didn’t handle that the right way and lost our composure. So we just continue to teach and coach off of it and make sure our guys understand what we expect and what’s acceptable and not acceptable.”

Beamer acknowledged that some penalties are inevitable, but others are completely avoidable. Cam Smith, one of South Carolina’s most reliable defensive backs, had a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called in the first half.

How do you teach against potentially costly penalties? Beamer called that the “million-dollar question.”

Beamer said he’s seen a number of approaches from his various stops across the college football landscape. He’s been at places where they don’t talk about it and hope penalties just go away. Other programs call up the player to announce his name and penalty before everyone does up-down exercises. Some take the time in team meetings to go over every penalty to make it a teaching moment.

Beamer’s philosophy is to focus on communicating expectations and what isn’t allowed. He’ll show some clips in team meetings, and he said the Gamecocks have officials at almost every practice.

“It’s football. There’s some things that are just going to happen,” Beamer said. “It’s the pre-snap and post-snap stuff that makes you want to throw up as a coach. We’ve got to get better at that. Two weeks in a row I’ve said it, and hopefully we’ll be better this week.”

South Carolina will head on the road for its first SEC matchup with No. 2 Georgia this Saturday in Athens, Georgia. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

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