Head South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer said in a media availability Tuesday that he expects to make a game-time decision for naming the starting quarterback against the No. 2 ranked Georgia Bulldogs.
Saturday's game will open SEC play for the team, and while he is excited, Beamer said he expects the upcoming games to be "dogfights."
“It is the greatest football conference in the world," Beamer said. “I've missed being in the SEC. I've missed playing in 80, 90,100 thousand seat stadiums like we will for the rest of the season.”
Beamer said he has been telling his team all week, “if you don’t want to play against the best, then you shouldn’t be playing in this conference.”
Though sophomore quarterback Luke Doty did not play against East Carolina University because of soreness in his injured left foot, Beamer said he will be "ready to roll" for the Georgia game.
Noland is a native of Athens, Georgia, and Beamer said he wants to against the Bulldogs this weekend.
“When he decided that he wanted to come back out and play," Beamer said. "One of the things he did mention is how cool it would be able to go back to play in Sanford Stadium, in the town that he went to high school in and that his family lives in.”
Despite all the talk about Doty possible returning, Beamer was quick to point out graduate transfer quarterback Zeb Noland's performance on Saturday.
“Let’s also recognize the fact that Zeb Noland made some fantastic throws down the stretch the other day against East Carolina too,” Beamer said.
With Doty's return possible, Beamer said the criteria for determining a starter has not changed for the team.
“You’ve got to compete and have a good week of practice,” Beamer said.
Besides the talk of who would be starting this weekend, Beamer also highlighted what the team struggled with against East Carolina.
The Gamecocks racked up eight penalties totaling 55 yards in the contest.
“Penalties are gonna happen during the play. It’s football. There’s some things that you’re just going to have to live with. It’s the pre-snap and post-snap stuff that makes you want to throw up as a coach," Beamer said about the issue.
When asked about how his team looks forward from last week, Beamer said the team needs to improve its start.
“We also need to understand that if we get out to the start that we did against East Carolina, it’s not going to end well. We need to get off to a lot better start and play a whole lot better that’s for sure," Beamer said.
The Gamecocks take on No. 2 Georgia in Athens Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.