Sports

Gamecocks in Search of a Winning Attitude

IT’S DÉJÀ VU FOR SOUTH CAROLINA FANS By Liz Gunn || Earlier today, FITS contributor Brant Branham addressed the possible firing of Lorenzo Ward. This has been a very hot topic as the Gamecocks come off of their fifth loss, three of which were due to epic fourth quarter meltdowns. To say that…

IT’S DÉJÀ VU FOR SOUTH CAROLINA FANS

liz gunnBy Liz Gunn || Earlier today, FITS contributor Brant Branham addressed the possible firing of Lorenzo Ward. This has been a very hot topic as the Gamecocks come off of their fifth loss, three of which were due to epic fourth quarter meltdowns. To say that the natives are restless would be an understatement.

When a team has back to back to back 11 win seasons, it’s hard to stomach the abysmal play we’ve seen this season – with just three games left on the schedule. This team has a lot of problems, but the most glaring issue of all remains to be our defense. Not once, not twice, but three times this season we’ve given up a fourteen point lead in the fourth quarter of the game. If it was anyone else’s team, I’d find it comical. How does this happen?

Fans have been really hard on fifth year senior quarterback, Dylan Thompson. At times I have defended him and other times he made me regret doing so. But the fact remains that when your offense is averaging 35 points a game, you don’t expect your record to be 4-5.

I used to love the old saying that “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins ballgames.” – probably because even in down years we have usually had a decent defense. In 1998 and 1999, when the Gamecocks went 1-10 and 0-10 respectively, through the first nine games of each season our defense had given up less points than this year’s squad has through its first nine games. Chew on that for a minute.

I am not a fan of Lorenzo Ward right now for a lot of reasons. A coach’s job is to prepare his players and put them in position to win. Our players look lost, lazy and out of sync. What are they doing in practice?

What’s more concerning to me though is his “oh, well” attitude. He makes statements to the media like, “I probably could have made some different calls to make them more aggressive. It’s hindsight, but that’s the way the game goes.” Seriously?

The thing is, Ward has 20+ years of defensive coaching experience at reputable programs like Alabama, Arkansas, Virginia Tech and the Oakland Raiders. In 2012 and 2013 our defense was in the top 25 in all four statistical defensive categories. Two of our three 11 win seasons were with Ward at Defensive Coordinator.

It makes you wonder if now that Ellis Johnson’s players are all long gone, is it a recruiting problem?  Or is this just a rebuilding year and someone forgot to let us know? Honestly, it would make more sense if it were a talent issue rather than a coaching problem. But it’s hard for most fans, including myself, to see it that way right now.

To me, the biggest difference in this team and the teams from the three prior seasons, is the ability to make big plays when it matters most. This team just can’t seem to get that done. Aside from the Georgia game, which now feels like perhaps I imagined the whole thing, we have rarely been able to capitalize on the chances we’ve been given to finish a game.

Our defense collapses in the fourth quarter when all they have to do is make one stop. Our offense/ play calling goes to hell when right the game is on the line. It’s as if everyone is playing scared. And the more we lose, the worse that problem will become. These guys are so scared to screw up that they end up doing just that.

I hate being a naysayer when it comes to my own team. I can’t believe that it’s November and we aren’t bowl eligible. I can’t believe I’ve been reduced to hoping we can beat Clemson, again.

In reality though? This is far from uncharted territory for Gamecock fans. (Please refer to the fourth paragraph if you need clarification.) All we can do is hope and pray this drought doesn’t last as long as some others have in the past.

***

Liz Gunn is a wife, mom, travel enthusiast, food snob, daydreamer and lifelong Gamecock fan. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, she lives in Columbia, S.C. with her husband and daughter.

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31 comments

Mike at the Beach November 6, 2014 at 5:04 pm

“Not once, not twice, but three times this season we’ve given up a fourteen point lead in the fourth quarter of the game.”

Minor point, but wasn’t USC only 13 up (20-7) in the Mo game? I could be wrong (my brain is getting older by the minute). Not fatal to your point on the epic choking, of course, with which no sane person could argue…

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????????? November 6, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Maybe so. I’ve honestly tried to forget :(

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Mike at the Beach November 6, 2014 at 5:44 pm

I feel ya on that.

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Bible Thumper November 6, 2014 at 11:01 pm

“Not once, not twice, but three times this season we’ve given up a double digit lead in the fourth quarter of the game.”

At least they haven’t coined a word for this for Carolina, like Clemsoning.

Clemson – 20 ___ Wake – 20
In the forth quarter before Clemson pulled away.

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E Norma Scok November 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm

A win is a win, bitch.

And I’d rather pull away in the 4th than fall apart then.

And the targeting call was BS.

really?? November 7, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Wow, someone is a tad touchy, and I thought you tigers didn’t complain about refs? Did you forget you wrote that on another story just before you posted this comment again on an article that has nothing to do with Clemson, yet once again you read and felt the need to post here multiple times. USC is really so in your head. Thanks for the rent free accommodations however its pretty empty in there. Perhaps get a clue on how not to be a hypocrite to add for some scenery.

E Norma Scok November 7, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Did you miss the parts about reading and commenting in other stories? Reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit, huh.

really?? November 7, 2014 at 8:18 pm

All you comment on is Gamecock stories or to troll Liz on hers. One shows you are a pimply little sissy that cant get a girl, so you troll her, the other proves the Gamecocks are living rent free in your head. I guess factual logic isn’t your strong suit.

really?? November 7, 2014 at 8:27 pm

in fact a quick search of every article written here since in between your last two comments shows a grand total of ZERO posts from you. That is zero other articles you comment on that you claim to, so yes you are called out for being nothing but a troll for Liz, and head case about the Gamecocks. busted!! I mean if you comment on all these other stories I’m sure I would have seen one, but there wasn’t one. You are a laughable joke and got played! USC lives in your head

E Norma Scok November 9, 2014 at 6:54 pm

you need to search a little more, prick.
Please..continue with the self cactus fucking,

really?? November 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm

it sounds as if the truth is getting to you. thanks for the laughs. lmao. now go pop another zit.

E norma Scok November 10, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Do you whine this much in real life, or this just something you do on line?

really??? November 11, 2014 at 7:06 am

its obvious the only one whining here is your little sissy butt. nice try though. lmao are you crying while all alone with your zit cream?

TontoBubbaGoldstein November 6, 2014 at 6:43 pm

“Not once, not twice, but three times this season we’ve given up a double digit lead in the fourth quarter of the game.”

Fixed it for ya!

The sentence, not Sakerlina’s abysmal defense.
Some things are above TBG’s paygrade.

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E Norma Scok November 6, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Lutz…”If it was anyone else’s team, I’d find it comical”

It is, and I do.

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????????? November 6, 2014 at 5:19 pm

I can’t even blame you.

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E Norma Scok November 6, 2014 at 5:14 pm

“He makes statements to the media like, “I probably could have made some different calls to make them more aggressive. It’s hindsight, but that’s the way the game goes.”

This is the thing about coaching, and losing. There’s not a right answer for him to give you. What do you want him to say? There’s nothing he’s going to say that will make any fan feel any better after a loss.

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VoiceofReason November 6, 2014 at 5:29 pm

I am not a Gamecock fan but leave these guys alone until you walk in their shoes. So just shut up and be more sportsman like!

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Squishy123 November 7, 2014 at 9:22 am

You shut up.

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RHood2 November 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm

“A coaches job ”
A coach’s job.

“Our offense/ play calling goes to hell when right when the game is on the line.”
FITS, if this website is actually making money, I offer my professional services as a copy editor. ‘Cos ya dang shore need it.

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Not a Gamecock November 6, 2014 at 6:31 pm

It’s written by a Gamecock. What more would you expect?

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No wut I meen? November 6, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Just took a look at your comments on DISQUS. Don’t think anyone will be hiring you as a copy editor anytime soon. Keep your day job, pal.

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????????? November 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Why would we pay a copy editor when we know some brilliant commenter like yourself will come do the work – FO FREE!? thanks for the heads up -I have made the appropriate changes.

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Gamecock Hall of Fame November 6, 2014 at 8:50 pm

when you win 3 quarters of a football game you should always collect a win. No exceptions.

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sparklecity November 6, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Football past the high school level is hopelessly corrupt.
Without a doubt it is the Bread and Circus for the 20th & 21st century.
A sizeable number of the college and professional football players will develope brain damage or other crippling injuries just so you folks can socialize and tailgate prior to the “game” and cheer or curse them depending on their performance on that particular day.
Cockfighting as it is done in San Juan, Puerto Rico makes more sense and is definately more final – one lives to fight another round and the other one dies and becomes chicken pie plus you can gamble on which one kills the other.
Go ahead and make post-high school football bloodsport as it was in the Roman times and end the hypocrisy – it’s headed that way anyhow.

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Squishy123 November 6, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Don’t worry Marcus will fix all this.

Kyle Carpenter didn’t get the type of attention that Lattimore is getting… and all he did was earn the MOH. Pastides is trying to be a regular guy and talking about how USC needs to create a job for Lattimore, I wonder if Carpenter will get a job too?

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TontoBubbaGoldstein November 7, 2014 at 5:54 am

To say that the natives are restless would be an understatement.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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Wrong again. November 7, 2014 at 5:09 pm

We were 0-11 in 1999, not 0-10.

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????????? November 11, 2014 at 12:07 pm

thank you SOOOOOOO much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Scooter November 11, 2014 at 11:36 am

It is time to ease that old guy out and bring in a young energetic Lane Kiffin. A guy who can really recruit and coach an offense all the way through.

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Scooter November 11, 2014 at 11:39 am

Ease the old guy out and bring in a young energetic, Lane Kiffin, a coach who can call an offense and really recruit

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