COLUMBIA — South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer knows Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott better than most.
The two became close friends when they worked together at USC with Steve Spurrier during the 2010 season. Elliott was the offensive co-coordinator and Beamer was the special teams coordinator.
“Shawn is a great football coach, and I knew it then,” Beamer said. “He was a good friend and we used to go on vacation together during that time; our kids are about the same age. He’s done a great job at Georgia State and that relationship is still a good one. I’m certainly a fan of what he’s done at Georgia.” State and shoot for them except this Saturday.”
After more than a decade, Beamer and Elliott will meet again at Williams-Brice Stadium as opponents when the Gamecocks take on the Panthers in the season opener on Saturday (7:30 pm ET/SEC Network+). The two soccer teams have never played.
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The state of Georgia has a reputation as a tough loser to SEC programs. The Panthers beat Tennessee at Neyland Stadium in 2019, and last season they also led Auburn for three quarters before the Tigers scored in the fourth.
Beamer said that because he knows Elliott’s personality, he’s prepared for Georgia State to bring a bold, physical style of play against the Gamecocks.
“They’re going to be very, very aggressive. They faked a punt last year against North Carolina, like fourth-and-15 at their own 10-yard line, and that’s aggressive,” Beamer joked. “This is a team where 17 of their 22 starters are juniors or seniors, so they’ve played a lot of football together … They come here expecting to win.”
Beamer isn’t the only Gamecock that has history with the state of Georgia. Transfer linebacker Jordan Strachan played three seasons with the Panthers, and said he had this week’s game on his mind since the schedule was released.
“They’re my best friends, my guys,” Strachan said. “Just as I have teammates here who are my brothers, I also have brothers there.”
Strachan is in his second year at South Carolina, and Beamer said he has high expectations for the fifth-year student against Georgia State on defense and as a team leader.
“He’s really gotten better with his leadership off the field, his play on the field, the way he’s practiced… He’s been amazing since January and I know it’s a great time for him to come back and play for his old team.” Beamer said. “Hopefully he continues to do what he’s done all year … and also not make it any bigger than he is. It’s just about executing and doing his job.”