With a slightly scratchy voice and a disappointed sigh, head coach Shane Beamer addressed the media following South Carolina’s loss to No. 1 Georgia, 24-14. Here were the takeaways.
Georgia earning the win
Beamer said there was one message he tried to get across to his players: “Make them earn it.” He said he knew the expectations of a lopsided game (Georgia was favored by 27.5 points), but he wanted his team to believe they could do the impossible.
Going back on the field after halftime, Beamer said that was the main goal.
“We also knew that we were going to be a team that got better as the game goes on because they were going to respond and answer,” Beamer said.
For the most part, Beamer said that’s what happened. And with the Gamecocks trailing 17-14 as the game headed into the fourth quarter, he said USC played “toe-to-toe” with the Bulldogs.
Lots of self-inflicted errors
Beamer said false starts, personal fouls and other errors made throughout the second half really kept the Gamecocks from regaining control. Beamer showed a list of mistakes he wrote down, emphasizing how difficult it was to win with those errors.
“I’ve just got a list of just self-inflicted things in the second half,” Beamer said while showing his list. “And that’s frustrating, because our kids worked their butts off.”
Beamer added that it just came down to not playing clean football. He said South Carolina was expecting Georgia to come out fast in the second half, particularly as they started on offense, and they were anticipating that difference.
Beamer said South Carolina “expected” to win the game, despite the hostile environment, but those errors separated the Gamecocks from the upset.
More convinced of team’s identity
Beamer said the team’s goal was to make the game close through all four quarters of the game, and they accomplished it. Despite the “disappointing,” self-inflicted errors, Beamer said he’s felt more convinced of the team’s identity than he has throughout this season.
“I look around, and I still think we’re a better team than we were two weeks ago,” he said. “And again, we’re not patting ourselves on the back … but also, know we’ve made strides as a team and are going to continue.”
The head coach said he sees the improvement in the offensive line, the receivers and the defense — as the younger players continue to step in for injured veterans. Still, Beamer said there’s no moral victories, particularly with the game just out of reach.