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Beamer goes back to special teams roots

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

South Carolina's Shane Beamer is going back to his roots.

Beamer will add special teams to his duties next season now that Ray Rychleski has agreed to take a job with the Indianapolis Colts as specials teams coordinator. Rychleski was with the Gamecocks just one season and no doubt improved their special teams.

But Beamer isn't a bad guy to fall back on. He's been around good special teams play all of his life.

The son of Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, Shane was a member of the Hokies' famed special teams all four years he played there. He was on the kickoff coverage and punt return teams in 1996 and was the deep snapper in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

Beamer, 31, oversaw part of South Carolina's special teams two years ago before Steve Spurrier decided to shake things up and bring in Rychleski after the Gamecocks had three punts blocked in their last two games in 2007.

But Beamer was over the kickoff return and punt return units, and the Gamecocks averaged 3.4 yards more per punt return two years ago than they did last season. The kickoff return averages were within a half-yard of each other.

The cornerbacks coach last season, Beamer's responsibilities on defense will likely shift to overseeing the safeties and "spur" linebackers. But he'll keep his recruiting coordinator title, which will make him the only coach in the SEC that oversees special teams, recruiting and coaches a position.

Very few coaches, if any, around the country carry that kind of burden.

The Gamecocks are on their way to a possible top 10 or top 15 recruiting class, and with five new position coaches on board, Beamer deserves a lot of the credit for keeping things rolling after taking over the recruiting coordinator duties from David Reaves, who left to join the Tennessee staff the first of December.

With Rychleski on his way to the NFL, Spurrier has already introduced Jeep Hunter to the team as the Gamecocks' new tight ends coach. Rychleski also coached tight ends at South Carolina. Hunter coached tight ends under Chan Gailey at Georgia Tech.