mulburry bag Lincoln Riley introduces new assistant coach Shane Beamer
“Lincoln Riley can pick up the phone and call any coach in the country and that coach is probably going to have an interest in coming to Oklahoma,” said Beamer, who spent the past two years as Georgia’s special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. “It’s one of those places. I knew that from afar and I’ve learned that pretty quickly in my two days here why that is. It’s a special place. I was humbled more than anything that he reached out to me and had an interest in talking to me about a position here.”
College football programs are allowed a 10th assistant coach for the upcoming season and Beamer fills that role for OU. His title is assistant head coach for offense and he will coach the tight ends and H backs. Riley also indicated that Beamer will help Jay Boulware oversee the Sooners’ special teams.
Riley said he expects no further changes on the coaching staff.
“My initial strategy was to be patient. I wanted to make sure before I went and hired that 10th coach that our staff was going to remain intact,” Riley said. “I did not want to go rush into hiring a 10th coach and then maybe the staff shifts in some way, then you wish you would’ve done something different with this position. So I was definitely patient with it.
“I think we’re pretty settled,” Riley later added. “In this business, somebody could call in June. Nothing is ever 100 percent but I feel pretty confident right now that the group that we have will be the same group that we have starting the season next year.”
Beamer, the son of legendary Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, will be remembered for his special teams in the Rose Bowl. A blocked field goal led to Georgia’s 54 48 victory over Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinal.
“We were fortunate enough, Georgia blocked that field goal in the Rose Bowl,” said Beamer, who joked he didn’t know how well his answer would go over to OU fans. “It was a big play, no question about it. But there were a lot of big plays in that game. I was telling someone yesterday, that was a heck of a football game but there were some plays in that game we were certainly very fortunate to have some breaks go our way, and that was one.
“You hate to see anybody lose that game. I remember thinking that in the fourth quarter. This is a heck of a football game and it’s going to be a shame somebody has to lose this. Hopefully there’s a lot more of those blocked field goals, blocked punts, returns, things like that coming our way next year.”
Beamer also wants to make his own name in the profession. His father Frank Beamer won 280 football games up until his 2015 retirement.
“That was important to me. I went to Virginia Tech and played there. I could’ve stayed and started my coaching career there,” said Shane Beamer, who also coached at South Carolina, Mississippi State and Tennessee. “It was important to me throughout growing up that I never wanted to be just Frank Beamer’s son. I didn’t want anyone to be able to say the only reason he got that job was because of my last name. It was important for me to get out on my own.
“I left Virginia Tech after college without being sure what was going to be the next step. Eleven years later, I was out coaching somewhere else. Went back to Virginia Tech for five years, which was awesome. I was able to be part of his last five years in coaching.
“I’m certainly very proud of him and proud of the last name and want to emulate a lot of that. It’s still very important to be able to make my own name and never have anyone say I’m in a position because of my last name. To this day, I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder because of that and I don’t want to lose that.”
Riley became acquainted with Wylie when both began their respective journeys at Texas Tech.
“I know every time I even sniffed at a head job, he was the first guy I would call to say, ‘Hey, if this happens would you come with me?'” Riley said. “This time I called him and joked that I really had a job to offer this time. This is for real.
“He’s off to a great start with our guys. Our players love him. It doesn’t take long to see he has an amazing way with those guys. Our players are already responding at a high level and I’ve been really happy with the first week or so here. Bennie and his wife, Jen, are going to be a great part of Sooner Nation.”
Wylie’s official title is director of sports performance for football. He was at Texas Tech (2002 09), Tennessee (2010) and Texas (2011 13) before spending the past four years in private business at a strength and fitness training center in Abilene, Texas.
What did the time away from college football do for him?
“Just gave me a different perspective, coming back in. It really made me realize I have a love and a passion for this and a gift for it. A different perspective,” Wylie said. “I’ve seen it from the outside, from my couch watching it, and kind of the new things you can bring into the game. The different training styles. There’s so much out there now that we didn’t have three years ago that I’ve been able to see over the last three years and kind of bring those back.”
He’s spent time building rapport with his new players.
“They’re still 20 years old. They don’t change. Eighteen, 19, 20 year old guys don’t change much. It’s still the same things you’re going to see every single year,” Wylie said. “Every single year you have a group of 18 year olds coming in. Every single year you have a group of 21 , 22 year old guys trying to make hard life decisions staying going training and all those things.
“Building those relationships with new people, which is what I love to do. I love knowing my players and what makes them tick and click and turn on and turn off. That’s the joy of this job. I know 120 guys and what makes them tick and that is valuable on Saturday because that’s when it’s needed.”