Shane Beamer brings ‘Beamer Ball’ to Oklahoma special teams
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — As if Iowa State doesn’t have enough to worry about with revenge-minded Oklahoma visiting on Saturday, the Cyclones will have to deal with the full force of “Beamer Ball.”
Oklahoma brought in Shane Beamer from Georgia in the offseason to help Jay Boulware run special teams, and the move has paid off immediately. In the opener, Lee Morris blocked a punt and Curtis Bolton recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown that helped spark a 63-14 victory over Florida Atlantic. In Saturday’s game against UCLA, the Sooners did it with the return game — Tre Brown had 121 yards on two kickoff returns and CeeDee Lamb had a 66-yard punt return during a 49-21 win .
Former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer is the originator of “Beamer Ball,” a term coined to describe his opportunistic special teams units. Now, son Shane has the same type of imprint all over Oklahoma’s game. The Sooners have yet another weapon at their disposal when they seek payback from last year’s stunning 38-31 home loss to Iowa State.
“We want to be aggressive in the things that we do in the game and attack, and not sit back and be passive,” Shane Beamer said. “We certainly want to put pressure on people.”
Boulware is technically still the special teams coordinator, but Beamer, who also coaches tight ends and H-backs, has taken on much of the responsibility and allowed Boulware to focus on coaching running backs.
“Shane’s had a tremendous impact and I don’t want to discount it all because I’m thrilled with that hire,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “I think everybody collectively has been more invested. We’ve spent more time on it. There’s just a total increased emphasis on special teams right now. I think that play the other day was part of that. Shane was part of that. Coach Boulware was part of it. The staff the players, everybody.”
Beamer said the coaches have been willing to put some of the team’s best athletes on special teams. Bolton, for example, is a starting linebacker.
“That’s huge,” he said. “Our guys — they’ve been awesome. They want to be involved. It starts with coach Riley and the emphasis he puts on special teams and it goes downhill from there. For the players to have buy-in and the effort and the energy they have makes all of our jobs as coaches a lot easier.”
On Saturday, the special teams stunted UCLA’s momentum. Right after the Bruins scored a touchdown to go up 7-0, Brown returned the kickoff 86 yards to the UCLA 12-yard line. Three plays later, Rodney Anderson scored from 3 yards out, and the Sooners tied the score. In the third quarter, Lamb’s big return gave the Sooners possession at the UCLA 11. Two plays later, Kyler Murray threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to A.D. Miller to push the lead to 35-7.
Meanwhile, the Sooners never allowed UCLA to return a punt, and the Bruins got just 15 yards on their only kickoff return.
“Probably the most dominant side of all was the special teams,” Riley said. “Two huge, huge plays. The punt return and the kickoff return that gave us momentum, got our team, the crowd everybody energized. So we continue to make some strides there, make some big plays. So proud of that group.”
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP