South Carolina football: Beamer speaks on Dowell Loggains

Shane Beamer isn’t here for your doom and gloom.

He said as much on Wednesday with a direct and fiery 11-minute, 37-second opening statement as he introduced offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains to South Carolina — a hire made amid heavy outside criticism from fans and pundits.

“I’m not interested in winning the press conference,” Beamer said, his voice simmering with ire. “I’m interested in hiring the best coach available for what we need as a program. I’m not interested in hiring a name that people recognize.”

Beamer has always been to the point on hot-button issues. It’s a refreshing trait in a world filled with coaches who pretend not to read what’s in newspapers or on internet fan sites. He was particularly to the point Wednesday.

Playing his usual hits, Beamer listed the historic marks his program reached in 2022 — including an 8-4 finish and historic wins over No. 5 Tennesee and No. 8 Clemson. Addressing the negative fan reaction that came with losing several playmakers to the transfer portal, he noted that the Gamecocks coaching staff is working to add more reinforcements of their own.

Beamer, who always seems to relish the chance to stand behind a microphone, also made sure to tell those worried about his decision-making that Loggains’ hiring wasn’t about winning a public relations contest, but a long-term play for the health of the program.

“I feel like some people might need a reminder of some of the things that we’ve done here at South Carolina this past season and the momentum that we’ve created since then as well,” Beamer said. “Maybe outside this building there’s a perception that the momentum slipped. That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

The South Carolina football Twitter account echoed its head coach, posting gifs, memes and fire emojis in tune with the feisty rhetoric that echoed at the press conference inside a meeting room in the Long Family Football Complex.

Only time will tell if the Loggains hire will work. In the interim, his resume and past stops in the NFL that bred middling offenses for parts of seven years will be pored over incessantly.

He spent 16 years in the league with six different teams. He worked for legendary coaches Sean Payton and Bill Parcells. Former Mississippi State head coach Sylvester Croom and current Temple head coach Stan Drayton were consulted during Beamer’s search. All four football gurus had glowing things to say, according to Beamer.

The numbers leave plenty to be desired. No NFL offense Loggains coached ranked better than 15th in the league in yards per game. Those same teams averaged just 18.5 points per game.

Beamer, though, isn’t concerned with the stats. He insisted those can be twisted and contorted to fit a narrative.

“I’m sure you guys knew that Dowell Loggains turned down a coordinator job in the SEC last year, correct? Everybody knew that, right?” Beamer suggested, rhetorically. “I’m sure you guys knew that I’m the fourth SEC head coach that’s reached out to him in the last two weeks about coming to work for him.

“We were fortunate to hire Dowell Loggains, because there are a lot of other people that were interested in hiring Dowell Loggains as well.”

Criticisms aside, Wednesday offered at least glimpses of, perhaps, why Beamer was willing to take the outside heat that’s come his way since USC’s pursuit of Loggains first leaked out last week.

The ex-Arkansas tight ends coach was charming in his first meeting with local reporters. He answered every question with “sir” and “ma’am,” his Texas drawl showing through. He cracked jokes about rough seasons in Chicago and Cleveland. He drew laughs referencing how many times he had to play at Lambeau Field in less-than-ideal circumstances against Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre.

The football piece, too, shined. His breakdown of quarterback mechanics and his time working with Matt Hasselbeck, Kerry Collins and Jay Cutler was mesmerizing. He explained the idea of adjusting hitches in a signal-caller’s motion and adjusting the “bottom-half” of their base.

“I’ve gotten to this point in my career where I can be very picky with jobs,” Loggains said. “You start picking people. You pick cultures. … What (South Carolina) started with in Week 2 (at Arkansas) to how you finished, there was something special about this place and this culture and what’s being created.”

Leaving the football facility on Wednesday, Beamer and Loggains piled into a black SUV and set off, presumably, for another day on the recruiting trail.

Such is the wickedly speedy nature of shifting from one job to the next in college football in 2022.

Beamer said he understands how crucial it was to get this choice right given the recent momentum of the program. In his mind, Loggains is that guy.

Fans and pundits have and will pan the hire — for now. We won’t really get our first real taste for what Loggains will bring until the spring game, or even the 2023 season opener against North Carolina in Charlotte.

Until then, we’ll see how long Beamer stays on the defensive about his second offensive coordinator hire in two years.

Ben Portnoy is The State’s South Carolina Gamecocks football beat writer. He’s a five-time Associated Press Sports Editors award honoree and has earned recognition from the Mississippi Press Association and the National Sports Media Association. Portnoy previously covered Mississippi State for the Columbus Commercial Dispatch and Indiana football for the Journal Gazette in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

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