NASHVILLE, TN (WBTW) — Thursday was the final day of the SEC Media Days, where South Carolina Football was able to reflect on last season and the road ahead. Head Coach Shane Beamer was joined by quarterback Spencer Rattler, punter Kai Kroeger, and defensive lineman and Conway high school graduate Tonka Hemingway.
Beamer was quick to point out the team’s success on special teams last year and he is hopeful they will repeat that and more this fall.
“We won games on special teams last season with the way we controlled field position in the Clemson game, returning a kickoff against Texas A&M, some of the fake punts and field goals we ran,” Beamer said. “So, let’s continue to be great, but how can we even be better? And we have and not just special teams. I have challenged everybody, myself, nutrition, weight room, training room, you name it. How are we going to be better this year?”
Despite the success that the Gamecocks had last year, their defense still gave up over 200 yards rushing per game. Hemingway talked about how the team has been working to improve their defense.
“I’ve been in the film room a good bit, you know working on my skills, working on run defense, working drills and techniques,” Hemingway said. “I feel really good about our defense. We’ve been working hard, we’re working on communication right now, and I feel like we are trying to get better.”
Last season, one of the biggest additions to the offense was quarterback Spencer Rattler. Beamer said Rattler quickly became a leader for the offense.
“Showing your teammates, in my opinion, that you are a guy that they want to follow,” Beamer said. “That you are a leader, you are about the right stuff, and Spencer showed that when he came in last season,” Beamer said.
A new addition to the offense this season is Dowell Loggains as the offensive coordinator.
“He’s come in with his new offense, he’s been coaching quarterbacks for years in the NFL now, and he has lots of experience,” Rattler said. “The offense is very quarterback friendly. It plays to our strengths, he knows what our strengths are, which is good. He’s teaching us every single day and obviously we’re still putting it together with camp here in two weeks, but we’re excited to just get in there and keep improving,” Rattler said.
While it’s important to prepare for the road ahead, Hemingway took the time to reflect on South Carolina’s big win last year over their in-state rival.
“It really means a lot, especially being a rivalry like that,” Hemingway said. “I’ve got family members that like Clemson, so getting that win is a good talking point.”
South Carolina’s first game of the season will be Sept. 2 against North Carolina in Charlotte, N.C.