Just when it seemed like South Carolina was doomed, it has found a way to come back to life. The Gamecocks, who entered November at 2-6, have rattled off three straight wins to move one win away from bowl eligibility.
“It would mean a lot,” head coach Shane Beamer said. “For me, how happy I would be for our players, because I know how hard they work. I mean, that’s the most important thing to me. I want to see them finish out the right way and be able to celebrate and finish this thing. So that’s what it would mean.”
Not only has the team’s play gradually improved but there’s a sense of more confidence on the field. Plus, it seems the players and coaches are having a lot more fun.
Most recently after Saturday’s win over Kentucky, the team had a grand time dancing and celebrating a come-from-behind victory.
“We look different than we did earlier in the season,” Beamer said. “To me, that’s guys comfortable in their roles. It’s guys more comfortable in the scheme and guys certainly more confident in what they’re doing.
“That creates energy and they’re playing with a lot of energy right now. But I think our guys have always been a confident group. When you have success, you just continue to try and build on it.”
But if you asked Beamer, he’d say the confidence and swagger was already there. It was just harder to tell in the midst of all the losses earlier in the year.
“I don’t think you go into Tennessee and be leading after the first quarter like we were if we weren’t confident. I don’t think we go into Texas A&M and have an early lead in the game if we weren’t confident and what not. But certainly you want to have success. What I’ve seen is guys continue to improve, and as you gain confidence in what you’re doing, you play faster,” he said.
With one game to go in the regular season, South Carolina has a chance to finish off strong. It also can make it a “November to remember,” as Beamer has continued to preach.
It won’t come easy, though. The Gamecocks are in for another tough test against Clemson on Saturday night in Columbia.
Regardless of what happens, Beamer knows there will be time to reflect on what the team has done after the season. Right now, the focus is solely on what’s next.
“For us, it’s let’s see if we can be better this Saturday than what we were last night and continue to get better as a team,” Beamer said. “And that’s what that would mean. It would mean we got better and finished the right way, which will be a really big challenge against a really good Clemson team that’s playing well right now.”