Gamecocks’ Dowell Loggains on why he took the USC OC job

Dowell Loggains watched South Carolina’s Week 2 loss against Arkansas as the tight ends coach for the Razorbacks.

He saw the Gamecocks struggle to establish the run game inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.. He witnessed USC turn the ball over three times in the fourth quarter while trying to climb back into the game. The Gamecocks scored 21 second-half points but lost 44-30.

Loggains, however, saw a change in that USC team throughout the course of the season. And that change left a big impression on him and on his perception of the program.

He later saw a South Carolina team defeat three ranked opponents — including two in the Top 10 — and the excitement that surrounded those victories as the 8-4 Gamecocks reached the Gator Bowl.

The USC team that played from behind in that September matchup against Arkansas looked like a different squad to Loggains by the end of the season. The Gamecocks dropped their first two SEC games to the Razorbacks and Georgia, but finished the season with a 4-4 conference record — third best in the SEC East.

“That’s what really enticed me with this job,” Loggains said. “Something special is going on there. I want to be part of it.”

Loggains won’t call plays in the bowl game, head coach Shane Beamer said, but will spend time around the team as it prepares to face Notre Dame.

Loggains has been watching film of the Gamecocks’ offense the last few days. His intentions when he fully takes over the offense will be to utilize the strengths of South Carolina’s offensive players.

“That’s how I define success: Did you max out everyone to the highest level of their capability?” Loggains said.

South Carolina’s offensive personnel is already looking decidedly different for the 2023 season.

It lost 1,451 yards of offense this month when MarShawn Lloyd, Jaheim Bell and Austin Stogner entered the transfer portal. Players like Christian Beal-Smith and Nate Adkins will also be gone after fulfilling the final years of their college eligibility.

USC will play in a bowl game for the second year in a row under Beamer, already improving its win total (eight) from last year (seven). The Gator Bowl could serve as a glimpse of what next year’s team will look like.

The Gamecocks can still work the transfer portal and get new assets like they did last year.

“Everybody’s dealing with it right now across college football and it’s just the landscape right now with the portal and recruiting,” Beamer said. “You just keep trying to recruit the best players available and the best people available.”

Beamer’s seen Loggains in several different settings. He recalled sitting in on a meeting while Loggains was working with the Chicago Bears, as Beamer went to watch former Gamecock Alshon Jeffery play.

He made similar visits when Loggains worked as the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans and, later, the Miami Dolphins, as Beamer sat in some offensive meetings in those cities as well with Loggains present.

“Seeing it with my own eyes in different places over his career as he’s matured and gained experience, but talking to people also,” Beamer said of Loggain’s credentials.

Loggains took interest in South Carolina’s current players rallying the way they did after the loss to the Razorbacks. That was the first of two-straight losses for the Gamecocks before they reeled off four consecutive wins.

“You see they’re bought in,” Loggains said. “How do you lose that game in Week 2 in the SEC and finish the way you did? It goes back to the culture you’re building.”

Loggains praised the coaching and support staffs at South Carolina and the way they kept communication with him during the hiring process. He said there are a lot of “little things” that make up the culture that South Carolina’s established.

This will be Loggains’ first tenure as an SEC coordinator and he’ll begin it at South Carolina, where he believes “something big is happening.”

“I’ve gotten to this point in my career where I can be very picky with jobs,” Loggains said. “And this point, you start picking people and you pick cultures.

“It’s such a great place. … I haven’t got to coach at this place yet but I’m looking forward to it and my family is. We’re excited to be Gamecocks and get this process started.”

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Jeremiah Holloway covers South Carolina women’s basketball and football for The State. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, he is from Greensboro, N.C. and an avid basketball fan. Holloway joined The State in August 2022.

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