Shane Beamer coached against Georgia multiple times during his career and spent two years of his career in Athens, so he’s very well-versed in the run-the-ball-down-the-throat style the Bulldogs employ most weeks.
Georgia has long maintained the identity of a run-first team, and it’s no different through two games this year with yet another stable of future NFL running backs and a thick offensive line.
It will be the toughest test yet — and maybe all season — for the Gamecocks’ stacked defensive line, who will try and prepare as best as they can for what Georgia’s run game offers.
“It’s hard when Georgia has running backs that try and run through you and out the other side every time they run the football,” Beamer said.
“Part of it in practice is we do a lot of good on good with our first offensive line against our first defensive line. We do that on Tuesday and Wednesday in practices. We try to make it as physical and real as it can be.”
Through two games — wins over Clemson and UAB — the Bulldogs are averaging 4.1 yards per carry, the same as South Carolina, but have been incredibly explosive at times.
Over half (35) of the the 69 rushes this year have gone for at least four yards with the offensive averaging 1.5 yards of clearance per rush and allowing just eight pressures in 55 dropbacks.
The six offensive linemen to start this season for Georgia average 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds.
“This is going to be a big boy football game. I know what their philosophy and mentality is at Georgia, and that’s to line up and run the ball down your throat. They have playmakers on the outside that are explosive,” Beamer said. “There’s a lot of explosiveness across that offense but this game is going to be critical right there.”
From a rushing perspective, Zamir White who’s already amassed 108 yards on just 20 carries, leads Georgia. He’s averaging 5.4 yards per carry, including rattling off 5.6 yards a pop against Clemson.
A talent like his can be hard to imitate in practice, and the Gamecocks are going this week with Rashad Amos to mirror White during scout team work and give the defense a sense of what it’s like to wrap White up.
“It’s making sure on the scout team against our defense every time we run the football we’re telling our linebackers and defensive linemen to make the tackle, thud him up but let the guy run because we want to make sure we have defensive backs coming to finish that play as well,” Beamer said. “We need all 11 to be involved in stopping the run.”
But, if there’s a group up to weathering the storm, it’s the Gamecocks’ defensive line.
Albeit against lesser competition compared to Georgia, South Carolina’s defensive line is allowing just 2.4 yards per carry and has gotten to the quarterback for seven sacks this season.
It’s been almost all good for the front four, but now the competition steps up a level and Beamer thinks they’re ready for it.
“I would hope we have a bunch of guys on our team that are internally motivated to where our excitement our defensive line has to play Georgia is the same as it is against Eastern Illinois and the same as it was against East Carolina,” Beamer said. “They’ve been pretty good both weeks.”