The Daily Gamecock

South Carolina's defense braces for Auburn after struggling against Missouri

Gamecocks football head coach Shane Beamer on the sidelines of Neyland Stadium on Oct. 9, 2021.
Gamecocks football head coach Shane Beamer on the sidelines of Neyland Stadium on Oct. 9, 2021.

The South Carolina football team is preparing to face a strong challenge in the run game against Auburn, head football coach Shane Beamer said Tuesday. 

South Carolina's defensive unit struggled against Missouri on Saturday, allowing 258 rushing yards to the Tigers. 

"Right now, we're just practicing physical. We are really slowing stuff down so we know what we're doing and know what gaps we're supposed to hit. Linebackers, d-line, we all try to be on the same page," Junior defensive lineman Zacch Pickens said.

Being on the same page will be key against Auburn's powerful run game, Beamer said. Senior edge rusher Kingsley "JJ" Enagbare said Auburn running back Tank Bigsby will be a tough player. 

"Pound for pound he's probably one of the strongest back we'd probably face. I think he (weighs) 208 but he runs like he's 240," Enagbare said.

Beamer said that each week in the SEC South Carolina will face explosive and physical players. 

"We've seen a lot of great running backs throughout the season. (Bigsby)  is another dynamic one that we're about to see," Beamer said.

Beamer took time to address the loss at Missouri last week and discussed how the team is taking it into this weekend.

"We were a disappointed bunch obviously on Saturday night with the way we played, but we came right back to work on Sunday like we always do," Beamer said. "We just got to do a better job of coaching so our guys are prepared for every look that they could potentially see during the game."

Tuesday morning, Virginia Tech parted ways with its head football coach Justin Fuente after six seasons. Beamer's father, Frank Beamer, left quite the legacy at the school. He won 238 games for the Hokies before retiring in 2015 after 29 years with the team. Shane Beamer's name had been in the media conversation about Fuente's replacement. 

Beamer shot down the rumors Tuesday, saying, "When I said this was my dream job, I wasn't just saying that to make it sound cool in a press conference or to get the job. This is where my wife, my family and I want to be."  

Beamer said he and his team try to ignore social media to not get discouraged with negative posts. 

"If I'm letting that stuff influence what I'm doing, then I'm not doing the best job for the young men in this program," Beamer said. 

Redshirt senior quarterback Jason Brown was 16 of 30 passing for 193 yards and two touchdowns last week against Missouri. 

Brown also threw two interceptions and had the costly fumble that ultimately swung momentum in the game against South Carolina. However, Beamer said Brown will be the starting quarterback against Auburn. 

"It wasn't pretty all the time on Saturday night, but going back and looking at the tape, Jason did a lot of good things," Beamer said. 

Beamer asked fans to create an electric atmosphere at Williams Brice Stadium on Saturday night. 

 "We certainly feed off the energy of our fans, and we're going to need a rocking Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday night," Beamer said.

The Gamecocks play host to the Auburn Tigers on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium. The kickoff is set for 7 p.m., and the game can be viewed on ESPN.