first_imgCOLUMBIA – An upbeat Lorenzo Ward had a quick and definitive answer when asked if he had any concerns about his job security.“Not at all,” said the University of South Carolina defensive coordinator. “Not at all.”USC’s defense has allowed more than 300 yards rushing in each of its past two games and more than 200 in four consecutive, prompting cries on talk radio and fan websites for changes in the defensive staff, including Ward’s dismissal.Ward, who is in his third season leading the defense, concedes this is one of the two most frustrating seasons he’s endured as a coach. The Gamecocks, who opened the season ranked No. 9 in the Amway Coaches Poll, have lost four consecutive Southeastern Conference games and are 4-5 with three games remaining.“This is probably the worst I’ve been a part of,” Ward said. “Well, I can’t say that because we went 2-14 when I was with the (Oakland) Raiders. We lost the first two, won the next two and lost 12 in a row, I think.“It’s tough, but you’ve got to grind through it. … We’ve grown accustomed to winning around here. We’ve got to get back to it.”Ward has tried a variety of things to turn the defense around, including going back and forth from the 4-2-5 to the 3-4 defense. He has also substituted freely. The same 11 players have not started two games this season.“We’re going through this for a reason,” Ward said. “There are a lot of different reasons. We can’t give up on the kids and can’t give up on the system, so we’ve got to keep grinding through it.”Dropping three games in which the team has had at least a 13-point lead well into the fourth quarter has been a hit to the team’s confidence. But, after a difficult Monday practice, Ward said the team bounced back Tuesday.“Because when we lost against Missouri late in the game and lost against Kentucky late in the game, we got into the game Saturday night and guys were afraid to make a mistake, which made them play tentative,” Ward said. “You can’t do that. That’s why you miss tackles in the open field and that’s why they moved the ball up and down the field.“I probably could have made some different calls to make them more aggressive. It’s hindsight, but that’s the way the game goes.”Follow Willie T. Smith III on twitter @willie_t_smithSpurrier says the jobs of his assistant coaches are safelast_img

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