COLUMBIA, SC (TheBigSpur.com) Steve Spurrier is in his 10th season as South Carolina's head coach and in his first nine years, his defense has allowed 550 yards or more just twice. This year, the defense has allowed 550 yards or more three times and all have come in losses.
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo WardThe Gamecocks (4-5, 2-5) entered the weekend with the worst scoring defense in the Southeastern Conference and were 13th in the 14-team league in total defense. After giving up 645 yards and 45 points to Tennessee, a team ranked in the bottom third of the league in most offensive categories, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward didn't have any answers.
"Speechless," Ward said after South Carolina's 45-42 loss in overtime to Tennessee. "Third time we've had at least a two touchdown lead in the fourth quarter and lost the ball game."
It's the third time the Gamecocks have blown a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter but problems have come throughout the game.
South Carolina allowed 680 yards in the season-opener against Texas A&M and even though some of the numbers got better, the problems have come back again. The Gamecocks allowed 551 yards a week ago against Auburn before the 645 on Saturday night to the Volunteers (4-5, 1-4).
The only other two games that South Carolina has given up more than 550 yards of offense under Spurrier came at Arkansas (651) in 2007 and against Auburn (589) in the SEC Championship Game in 2010.
Ward, again, said the problems are fixable.
"Of course we can fix it. We have three games to play. We've got to fix it. Can't give up on the kids, can't give up on the system. Have to keep working at it."
South Carolina is allowing 34.1 points per game this season and are giving up an average of 460.6 yards. When the league releases its updated stats on Sunday, those are certain to bring up the rear in the SEC.
It has been a quick fall to the bottom of the Gamecocks, which had one of the best, most consistent defenses in the SEC since the 2011 season. South Carolina has finished no worse than fourth in the league in scoring defense in the last three seasons and no worse than sixth since 2009.
What's left to try this year?
"Just keep working at what you're doing," Ward said. "Can't get any worse, so you basically have to get better."