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Nov. 4, 2014

The South Carolina Gamecocks spent Tuesday afternoon at the Bluff Road practice fields.

The Gamecocks (4-5, 2-5 SEC) are enjoying a bye week this week, before wrapping up the 2014 regular season with contests at Florida (Nov. 15), at home versus South Alabama (Nov. 22) and at Clemson (Nov. 29).

It’s been a tough season for defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. “Probably the worst I’ve ever been a part of,” said Ward. “I can’t say that because we went 2-14 when I was with the (Oakland) Raiders. We lost 12 in a row I think. It’s tough but you have to grind through it.

“It’s hard for both (the players and coaches),” continued Ward. “You’re not used to losing. We’re accustomed to winning around here and we need to get back to it. You’ve got to keep grinding through it. We’re going through this for a reason. 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.”

The Gamecocks continue to falter in the game’s final minutes, losing three games with two touchdown leads in the final period. “I think we’re to the point where because of what happened early when we lost against Missouri late in the game and lost against Kentucky late in the game to where we got in the ballgame on Saturday night and guys were afraid to make mistakes, which made them play tentative. You can’t do that. That’s why you miss tackles in the open field. I thought we could have made some different calls to make them more aggressive in hindsight,” said Ward, “but that’s the way the game goes.”

Ward said the coaches are trying to remain positive. “We’ve got three games left in the season and we don’t want to lose those three,” noted Ward. “You want to try to win your next game and try to get some momentum going. The best thing we can do is try to beat Florida.”

After the tough loss to Tennessee, Ward believes this was a good time to have an off week. “I think the bye week came at a good time for us,” said Ward. “Guys mentally needed a break. I think, especially with the way we lost the ballgame, this came at a good time.”

Ward confirmed that Na’Ty Rodgers is working at defensive tackle. “We’ll see what he can do. It will be tough to teach him everything we’re doing now. If he’s going to stay on this football team, he’s will play defense,” said Ward.

The Gamecocks are scheduled to practice again on Wednesday afternoon.