top of page

Real Talk Season 2 Episode 12: Last Chance U Star and Laney College Head Coach John Beam

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

For our our season finale of Real Talk With QB Velocity we were fortunate to talk with Coach Beam!

As you may recognize Coach Beam from Netflix's "Last Chance U" season 5, he has been a football coach since 1979 and has played a big part in developing many college and NFL athletes. Some of the players he has coached include CJ Anderson , Davone Bess and Marvel Smith.

When we talk to coach , we talked about a variety of topic including Last Chance U, social justice and what athletes should focus on for development.

Check out the full podcast on YouTube, Apple , Spotify or anywhere else you listen to podcasts!

What the main part about Laney college and Last chance U didn’t portray??

“I don't know, maybe my sense of humor, I’m a funny guy and did you guys see my dance moves ? You know one of the things that I think that probably I wish they showed better was that every Thursday we would bring in guest speakers and talk about real life things for our guys, most of these speakers are black or brown men just like they are."

"One was about mental health, one was NFL player, who talked about being sexually abused as a young kid, had another guy come in who played for me and was a rose bowl guy but he talked about having dyslexia, about having to ask for help and learn to adjust to a learning disability. It’s about showing it’s okay to be vulnerable, everyone has things going on and it’s okay to ask for help."

"So I don’t know if it showed that but I wish it would have. One man talked about, he’s written three books and talks about the first time he had a gun pointed at him, he grew up in Oakland and was a black male but that first time a gun was pointed at his head was by a police officer. All this was happening before George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the show came out and we were already talking about it. Social justice is huge for me and i don’t know if you can tell or not and I was also big on what I see what football and athletics can do for young men with social justice. It shows there avenues outside of the community and expand yourself and leave."

"You can meet different people and get a different perspective on what life is outside of Oakland. So again i don’t know if it showed that but it’s one of those things I have always felt really strong about. When I was at skyline, coaching for 22 years, I took a kid to a game in Hawaii, I took him to Vegas, to LA. I took him places that would be out of the norm for him. We try to fly once a year because most of them have never flown before."

How was having all the camera men and Last Chance U producers always around and following you?

“It’s hard to gage, I’m sure there was definitely that played into it but think about this. First week was definitely a problem, you have 30 people there as soon as I walk in the door. There was a sound guy giving me a mic, this is real production, these mics were like 15,000 dollars each and the cameras are 100,000 dollars these are professionals. They are their 6 days a week, 7 hours a day."

"After the first week they become part of your family, or you just get use to it. One of the things we talked about early on about how the kids would be in front of the camera the producer today pointed out that young people are in front of cameras all the time. They are always taking their phones out to record something."

"So it’s not as unique but what’s unique is that there’s people who are a part of your team and a part of your family then towards the end they are a part of your family and a part of your team. That Transformation occurs, and they start telling you their life stories and you tell them your stories.”

Did the show exaggerates RJ situation?

“The thing is, RJ had scholarship offers, he just didn’t like them so that’s why he was calling more people. What RJ struggled with is he had a clock issue and I kept saying you won’t be able to go D1 because you have a clock issue and he kept saying he can because he could get a petition and appeal it. Yeah but no ones going to do that for you. I told him take the D2 offer and be able to go play now."

"We didn’t know this pandemic would hit and all that. The point was to leave now and go play, this whole notion you have to be a D1 player. Guess what guys from D2 go to the NFL, guys from NEI go too. We had a guy 2 years ago who last year was in the Eagles training camp and he was a NEI guy for us. He had to there because of grades but he was an all American tight-end for me. Just go and do what you have to do, don’t worry about the label but RJ was stuck on that."

"It wasn’t that I stopped helping him but why would I keep calling if you already have one, and at the time he said he was going to take it I didn’t know he was going to change his mind. By then we were in a pandemic lockdown so I didn’t see him. The biggest thing with RJ is, it’s not greener in the other pasture if you can go to a school, no matter what level it is and get targeted 8-12 times a game, who are you to care what level it is? He just wants the ball in his hands, we couldn’t throw the ball to him this year, we had a QB situation, in the show they don’t show these conversations but I told him he doesn’t run good routes and be where your supposed to be."

"Your a good player, no one works harder than you no doubt and you have the skill set. But how is a young QB who is struggle going to know where your going to be if your all over the place. Second I don’t tell the QB where to throw the ball, he does that based on what he reads or whatever. Yes you might be open, probably should have thrown it to you but I can’t tell him to throw it to you in the middle of the game. And if you saw us struggling to throw the ball last year, go back a year earlier in 2018 we had a guy with 60 catches, 50 catches, 40 catches , 30 catches right, the QB who is starting at San Diego State now and giving the ball to everyone on the team."

"Now it’s a little bit different of a situation and I think RJ realized that towards the end. The camera didn’t help there either, he wants to look good for them. He wants to make sure he gets to the position where he can go after his dreams and I get that but what I was trying to explain it doesn’t matter where you go. Just ball out."

What was the QB situation like?

“Who would have thought we would have had 3 QBs get hurt, one thing for us we don’t want a ton of QBs on our roster. We like to have 3 possible 4 at the most. We want them to be able to get enough reps, I don’t want to have 6 QBs and some never get any playing time. I want to make sure we can develop them."

"We want to have a starter, a backup, a shirt and maybe a red shirt