ATHENS – Georgia’s new special teams coordinator hasn’t been allowed to speak to the media yet, and may not be. So when Shane Beamer’s father stopped by practice on Friday he was asked if he could tell everyone who would be the kicker, punter and return punts.
“You want the depth chart?” Frank Beamer said, laughing. “I’ll tell them what I think and then we’ll see how much bearing. I don’t think it’ll have any effect on him whatsoever.”
It actually might, considering the father’s history. Either way, Georgia is pretty happy to have Beamer Ball in town, both via father and son.
During nearly three decades as Virginia Tech’s head coach, Frank Beamer built a reputation for game-turning plays on special teams. Now Georgia, a program with a mixed recent history there, is hoping to capture some of that Beamer Ball magic.
The elder Beamer, who retired after last season, stopped by Friday’s spring practice at Sanford Stadium. He was one of the speakers at new head coach Kirby Smart’s coaches clinic, but Frank plans to be around the program plenty, with three grandchildren to be with in Athens, plus a lake house an hour away.
The younger Beamer spent the past five seasons with his father at Virginia Tech. He’s also Georgia’s tight ends coach, but all eyes will be on how he handles special teams, where his father says he brings more than a famous last name to the table.
“He was always around it, studied it, really detailed,” Frank Beamer said. “I think he knows everything I know and more. So he’ll do a good job.”
This is the first time in a while that Georgia has had just one coach overseeing special teams. Mark Richt divided the duties up among his assistants, though in his final two years he had co-special teams coordinators. Whether or not it was the reason, whenever the Bulldogs had a special teams mistake – and there were plenty – the lack of one dedicated coordinator was pointed to as the reason.
What’s the benefit to having a special teams coordinator?
“It makes a statement,” Frank Beamer said. “You’re going to have an offensive coordinator, you’re going to have a defensive coordinator. And now if it’s one-third of a game you probably should have a special teams coordinator. I think number one it makes a statement to your team. And number two if you’re concentrating in that area, you’re concentrating in a third of the ball game, and what’s important.
“Generally speaking that’s the quickest way to win – and the quickest way to lose.”
The key, according to the elder Beamer, is “getting your best people on special teams.” That’s apparently what his son is bringing to Georgia.
Sony Michel, the team’s leading rusher last year, is on the punt coverage unit. Yes, punt coverage, and in a relatively anonymous role, as the man next to the gunner.
“The whole style of the special teams is different than last year,” Michel said. “I’m ready to get after it, and run down the field.”
From that start of his tenure at Virginia Tech, his alma mater, Frank Beamer made special teams an emphasis. The Hokies were an underdog program trying to find an advantage on more talented, bigger-name opponents.
But by the end of his tenure at Virginia Tech, the elder Beamer thinks most of the rest of the country had caught up to him in emphasizing special teams.
“At a time when we were having a lot of success blocking kicks and returning kicks and so forth I think it became a time that things changed within college football,” Beamer said. “Ten years, 12 years ago, I think you could out-coach people in special teams. I don’t think you can anymore. I think most people have taken a different look.”
Including now Georgia, which has its own version of Beamer Ball, and can only hope it comes close to as good as the original version.