South Carolina offensive lineman Eric Douglas returns to Columbia for his sixth season in 2022.
Douglas, along with a few other of the offensive linemen, could have left following the 2021 season, however, Douglas said that he and his teammates believe in what head coach Shane Beamer and his staff are building with the Gamecocks.
“Just starting from the o-line, we got Jovaughn (Gwyn) and Dylan (Wonnum), we all decided to come back,” Douglas said in a press conference on March 21. “It wasn’t like we wanted to improve our draft stocks or anything like that. We wanted to come back and win. We saw the vision that Coach Beamer has. It’s a vision that we all believe in and trust in. We decided that we needed to come back, and we can build on something that we started last year, and we can be real special.”
Even through the ups-and-downs that the offensive line endured in 2021, Douglas said that the players and coaches continued to trust each other which helped the Gamecocks finish out the season strong.
“Just the trust that the coaches had in us later in the season,” Douglas said. “They had trust in us the whole season, but truly in the latter part of the season, you could really see that they put their trust in us as we put our trust in them. We all just came to a pretty good agreement, and it just showed to the world what we can really be.”
Douglas gets to see Beamer every day and says that what you see on social media about him is the same person that he is day in and day out.
“Just everything that coach Beamer, his core values that he’s instilled into this program, he truly means that,” Douglas said. “He exemplifies it every day and he shows us that he truly cares about us every day. You just see it in the clips that he posts on Instagram and Twitter. He is an exciting guy, he’s joyful. That is who he is off the camera, too. He is not just doing it to put up a façade. That is truly who he is. When you see that, that gets the spirit of the locker room up as well.”
In the spring, Douglas has gotten to work with quarterback Spencer Rattlerand he said that when they first met, they each had a message for each other.
“First thing that Spencer said when he came in, he was like, ‘Hey, I heard a lot of good things about you with the protections,’” Douglas said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I got you. I’m going to put us in the right spot. All I need you to do is to cue up the band for us.’ Protection wise, that is my job. I take pride in that. Putting us in the right position to execute at a high level is what I depend on.”
Through the struggles that the offensive line went through in 2021, Douglas said that they kept believing in each other and tried not to listen to the outside noise.
“We are not going to change who we are,” Douglas said. “We love who we are through the ups and downs. We stay together. It got rough sometimes, but you can’t really look to the outside. like-coach (Marcus) Satterfield says all the time, ‘Everybody that we have in that offensive team room, is who we got.’ Can’t really look to the outside too much. You just have to build on what you got inside in your room, and just go from there.”