Shane Beamer identifies key lineup decisions South Carolina is facing for new season

South Carolina football camp is officially back.
The Gamecocks opened the festivities with Thursday’s on-campus media day, including a podium session with head coach Shane Beamer.
Here are news and notes Beamer’s address on Thursday and ahead of South Carolina’s first official practice of the preseason on Friday morning:
▪ Beamer identified a few positions as ones where he’s curious to see who starts or is part of the rotation. Those were: how the offensive line shakes out, “What does it look like from left to right?” He said USC is going to play more than five at O-line and need to identify who the sixth, seventh and eighth players are. ... He said he wants to see how defensive end shapes up, saying senior Tyreek Johnson “had an awesome summer” and that senior Jordan Strachan and transfer Jatius Geer are in line to be big pieces of the rotation. ... Says there’s more depth at linebacker than USC has had. ... Beamer asked, who’s the third cornerback after presumed starters Marcellas Dial and O’Donnell Fortune? Those two are poised to start after Darius Rush and Cam Smith left for the NFL. ... Beamer also said he wants to see what the wide receiver rotation looks like. “We’re not going to play the same three the entire game?” USC will hope to identify six main players at the position.
▪ Beamer said that the Gamecocks will rely on a number of true freshmen right away in 2023, saying: “We’re going to have to rely on freshmen earlier than in any time that I can remember. ... We know true freshmen are going to have to factor in right now in Game 1.”
▪ Some players will be limited because of injury when practice starts Friday. “Nothing that will keep anyone out long term.” Defenders Mo Kaba and Strachan are coming off of torn ACLs from the 2022 season, while offensive lineman Jaylen Nichols remains out after a spring game leg injury, with Beamer said coaches are optimistic he returns later in the season. Running back Kamron Sandlin “will be a little limited,” though Beamer didn’t specify why.
▪ Beamer had some subtle nods to the conference realignment going on in college sports right now and joked he looks up every day and there’s another program begging to leave their league for another one. He noted that he’s thankful for the stability of the SEC right now.
▪ Beamer touted the work of the strength staff, nutritionists, etc. Said the average squat gain per player this year was 50 pounds.
▪ On the new faces at running back, Beamer said: Impressed with transfer Mario Anderson; said freshman DJay Braswell is “probably faster” than expected; Sandlin will begin at running back, “did a little bit of everything in high school” and could play tight end at some point in his career.
▪ Beamer said Dakereon Joyner is a leader, perhaps the leader, of the football team. Beamer said he’s excited to see Joyner play running back this season.
▪ Beamer said there’s “great excitement” about South Carolina’s 2024 recruiting class and hopefully more good news to come. USC added a commitment Tuesday from five-star prospect Dylan Stewart. “It’s a long time until signing day but I like where we are.”
▪ Outside linebackers coach Sterling Lucas just returned to work Thursday. Lucas’ wife gave birth to twins on Tuesday.

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