Playmakers, rise up: Beamer focused on feeding ball to White, Bell in win over Vandy

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Shane Beamer met with South Carolina’s offensive staff Saturday at halftime of the Vanderbilt game.

Up 14-10 with momentum swinging toward the Commodores, Beamer had a specific request for the coaches helping scheme the Gamecocks’ offense.

“Tell me exactly how we’re getting the ball to ZaQuandre White early in the second half,” Beamer said he told them. “We need to get him going.”

Once South Carolina received the ball for its first possession of the second half, White took the first handoff 19 yards to the Gamecocks’ 44-yard line. White had eight touches in the third quarter.

Beamer was pleased to see his message had been received.

“(White is) explosive, and he just loves to compete,” Beamer said. “We wanted guys that love to compete out there and bring energy and he does.”

USC’s first-year head coach, in search of his first Southeastern Conference victory in a homecoming matchup with a struggling Vanderbilt squad, said the Gamecocks needed to get the ball to offensive playmakers. They did that as the team rallied to secure a 21-20 win over the Commodores at Williams-Brice Stadium.

White, who hadn’t recorded a carry or a reception since South Carolina’s Sept. 18 meeting with Georgia in Athens, was the first on Beamer’s list of playmakers he’d been stressing with his offensive staff throughout the week.

The senior led the way for South Carolina rushers against Vanderbilt with 65 yards on 12 carries and another 17 yards on two receptions — all 14 of his touches came in the second half. White played a role in three of South Carolina’s 14 explosive plays, with a 16-yard reception, a 28-yard rush and his second-half opening 19-yard run.

“Just playmakers, that’s what we talked about all week as an offense,” Beamer said. “We’ve got good plays, but let’s just get the ball to our playmakers.”

Who’s on that list? Following Saturday’s Vanderbilt win, Beamer mentioned White, tight end Jaheim Bell, and wide receivers Xavier Legette, Josh Vann and Dakereon Joyner.

Bell put his name into South Carolina record books Saturday, with an 82-yard touchdown reception that tied for 10th-longest in school history. He finished the day leading the Gamecocks with 136 yards on six receptions.

“We just prepared ourselves for anybody to make plays,” Bell said after the game. “Everybody who made plays, they stepped up big time today.”

And then there’s Legette, who stepped up at wide receiver in place of an unavailable Jalen Brooks and caught the game-winning touchdown pass from late-game quarterback addition Zeb Noland. Legette finished the game with 31 yards on four catches.

“(Legette) is ready to go always. He practices really hard,” Noland said after the game. “He worked really, really, really hard this summer, and he just comes out and continues to get better.”

Beamer focused on getting playmakers involved throughout his Vanderbilt preparation, and it worked out when the Gamecocks desperately needed a final push to seal a close win.

So why hadn’t White, at the top of Beamer’s playmaker list, gotten the chance to make any plays since mid-September? It had nothing to do with any injury, Beamer said. Rather, as one of the Gamecocks’ four talented tailbacks, White fell behind Kevin Harris, MarShawn Lloyd and Juju McDowell in practice.

White did not receive in-game carries for nearly a month. But as Beamer reflected on the offense’s recipe for narrow success against Vanderbilt, he knew White would remain part of the equation.

“We’ve got to continue to find ways to get Z White involved,” Beamer said. “He brings energy to our team, the players on our team. Offense, defense, special teams, they love the kid because of the way he practices and the energy he brings. When he is touching the ball, good things happen.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting