Even though he’s only in his first year as South Carolina’s head coach, Shane Beamer is very familiar with Kentucky. Not only has Beamer coached against the Cats as an assistant at four different SEC schools, he actually grew up in the Bluegrass. Shane’s father Frank coached at Murray State from 1979-86 before taking the job at Virginia Tech.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach Stoops and what he’s done at Kentucky and the way he’s elevated that program,” Beamer said yesterday. “I grew up in Murray, Kentucky when my dad was the head coach at Murray State. From the age of two to the age of ten, I lived in Kentucky, so I know all about UK Football and UK Athletics from growing up in that part of the country, that state. It’s impressive the way that Coach Stoops has come in and taken that program to a new higher level. The consistency that they win football games with and execute year in year out is impressive.”
Beamer is also familiar with the Stoops family. Prior to taking the job at South Carolina, he was the assistant head coach/tight ends coach at Oklahoma, where he met Stoops’ brothers Mike and Bob. At Virginia Tech, Beamer got his first taste of going up against a Mark Stoops defense.
“Think the world of their family and think a lot of their program at Kentucky as well. It was that way when I was at Virginia Tech and he was the defensive coordinator back at Florida State back in 2012. Super physical and super well-coached, was the Florida State defense and the Kentucky teams he has are no different. I played against them when I was at Georgia in 2016 and 2017 and they were always battles. They’ve only gotten better and continue to become an even more physical team.”
“I still have nightmares of that”
As for Kentucky’s offense, Beamer noted that the Cats have always had playmakers. He said is still haunted by Randall Cobb’s heroics vs. the Gamecocks while he was on staff back in 2010.
“I still have nightmares of, we beat Alabama and then go up there the next week and Randall Cobb on 4th and 11, whatever it was. I still have nightmares of that.”
As someone who was in the stands that night, I can assure you my dreams are very different.
As the tight ends coach/special teams coordinator at Georgia from 2016-17, Beamer recalled Kentucky’s strong rushing attack. Now that the offense has a passing element, Beamer says the Cats are even more dangerous.
“They’ve always had good players on offense. When I was at Georgia, I remember Kirby [Smart] always used to talk about their Wildcat package when they put the running back at quarterback, I think it was Benny Snell or whoever they had. I wasn’t coaching defense, but I remember Kirby used to talk about it, how physical they were running the football.
“Now, they’re still really, really physical running the football and now you have more of a big-play pass threat off of it. No. 1 [Wan’Dale] Robinson, he’s a game-changer with his speed. Missouri saw it on the first play of the game if I’m not mistaken, how electric he is. And [Will Levis], like I said, is playing at a really high level. You see a lot of NFL principles with the new offensive coordinator coming in. They’re doing a great job and it’s only elevated their ability to win football games.”