UGA Football

Q&A: Coach explains ‘biggest’ reason why he left UGA for Oklahoma

Oklahoma assistant Shane Beamer, who coached at Georgia the past two seasons, spoke to reporters before participating in Bruce Arians’ Georgia Celebrity Golf Classic.
Oklahoma assistant Shane Beamer, who coached at Georgia the past two seasons, spoke to reporters before participating in Bruce Arians’ Georgia Celebrity Golf Classic. jbutt@macon.com

Shane Beamer was once again in Georgia this week. It’s just now as a representative of another university.

Beamer, who has a lake home in Greensboro, spent the past two seasons as a tight ends coach and special teams coordinator with the Georgia football program. During the offseason, Beamer received an offer to be an assistant head coach in addition to leading tight ends and H-backs at Oklahoma.

After weighing his options for a week, Beamer accepted the promotional opportunity. Beamer said it was “different” the first time he came back to the Peach State while wearing a different logo across his chest.

“My family and I had an awesome time in Athens, and it will always be a special place,” Beamer said. “It was hard, really hard, to leave. It was back and forth for about a week trying to figure out what I wanted to do.”

Beamer spoke on a number of topics to reporters prior to participating in former NFL head coach Bruce Arians’ Georgia Celebrity Golf Classic. Among those were Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley suggesting Georgia wouldn’t rank in the top 5 in defense if it played in the Big 12 and what Beamer thinks of offensive coordinator Jim Chaney taking over Georgia’s tight ends group.

Q: Not to ask a leading question but it seems Lincoln’s comments were probably blown out of proportion, taken out of context …

SB: I think so. It’s funny. I was with my parents when I first read about it, and I mentioned it to my mom, and my mom got defensive, defending (head coach Kirby Smart) and Georgia. She’s like, ‘You guys did shut them down that game!’ I know he was saying it and came right back and said it wasn’t a shot at Georgia, it was a testament to the offenses in that league. It’s all about the number of plays you run, and the more plays offenses run against you, the worse your stats from a defensive standpoint are going to be.

Out there in that league, everybody is running 80, 90 plays a game. Your defenses are out there for a lot more if they can’t get themselves off the field. I’ve been out there for six months, and the six months I’ve been there, (there is a) level of respect Lincoln and the entire program has for Georgia and the team they played that night in Pasadena.

Q: Do you think Kirby and the staff will use it as motivation?

SB: Probably not. I think Kirby does a great job of not worrying about what people on the outside say. That’s one of the great things about him. It’s all about, ‘Let’s worry about us.’ Even last year, remember before the (Alabama-Vanderbilt) game, the defensive lineman for Vanderbilt kind of called out Alabama, and you never really heard Alabama say anything about that. It’s the same thing with (Georgia).

It’s just a philosophy. Even when players from opposing teams said something that could be used for quote-unquote bulletin board material, we never brought it up. I’m sure you guys know what kind of competitor Kirby is, so he will keep that internally. As far as if he says it to the team, I’d be surprised if he does.

Q: What do you think about Chaney moving to (coach) tight ends?

SB: I know the tight ends are excited thinking the guy coaching them is the guy calling the plays. It’s good. Obviously that’s his forte, having coached it in the NFL. He was very helpful to me, particularly early on when I got to Georgia, since he had been an NFL tight ends coach. He kind of helped me with the tricks of the trade, things like that as well. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes. Obviously he did a good job with (quarterback Jake) Fromm last year coaching. Jay Johnson, in that analyst position, helped with that position also. It’ll be good for Chaney to get back to his element from his NFL days, and I know the tight ends, I’m sure, are happy for it also.

Q: It seems like teams, pro and college, have traveled to Oklahoma to learn what you guys do. How exciting is it to be a part of that offense?

SB: That was honestly the biggest thing for me in making the decision to go out there. It was the chance to get connected with Lincoln and that offense, just from a career standpoint with the doors it may open down the road for me. I’m a fan of college football like you guys are. To be able to see that offense and what it’s doing from the outside, to have a chance to get up and close and personal with it was exciting for me.

Just the amount of people, whether it be friends in the NFL who have called me asking questions of what we do or college coaches that I’m hearing from weekly who have a question of what we’re doing. It’s certainly flattering. But one thing about Lincoln is, like all coaches, he’s never comfortable. He’s constantly looking for ways to get better and evolve as well.

Q: Do you ever look at Rose Bowl film, and if you do, who are you rooting for?

SB: (Laughs) I’ll be honest with you, it’s hard. When I first got there, we finished recruiting, and then the whole month of February was going back and watching every single play Oklahoma ran from the year before, with the staff just running the offense. So obviously, quite a few plays from the Rose Bowl came up in there. Watching it early on, for sure, it was awkward. They’re sitting there and Roquan Smith makes a heck of play, obviously, in overtime on the sideline. There’s part of me thinking what an amazing play that was, and you’re sitting in a room with coaches who are obviously upset, and it’s gut-wrenching for them to watch. It was a little bit awkward.

It’s tough for me when you’re showing video or things to your players trying to teach, whether it be drills and things like that, and then there are Georgia players on the video. I told them, ‘Look, let’s just get through spring practice, and then I don’t have to show you any more Georgia film.’ But it’s two great programs. There are great young men in both programs, and that’s the thing I’m excited about. There are a great group of guys in Athens who I still keep in touch with, players and coaches who I think a lot of. Coach (Bob) Stoops and Lincoln at Oklahoma have recruited an awesome group of guys in Norman as well, and I am excited to be a part of.

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