It is only three games, and against opponents no one would call offensive juggernauts, but still, it is pretty hard to find many bad things to say about how USC defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward’s unit has played early this season.
The Gamecocks have only given two touchdowns all season and are ranked seventh in the country in scoring defense. Ward’s defense is ranked in the top 10 nationally in sacks and rush defense and has been especially effective defending in the red zone. The Gamecocks have not allowed a red zone touchdown all season. In fact, opponents have only gained four yards on 17 plays inside the Gamecock 20.
“We want to protect our home,” Ward said. “When we get in the red zone, we want to try to raise our level of play. If we can’t keep people out of the end zone, we don’t have a chance to win a lot of football games.”
There is still some concern about the play of the secondary and the depth in the defensive backfield. That area of weakness could get a boost in the next week or two if senior corner back Akeem Auguste returns to action. He’s been out al season because of a groin injury he suffered late in the preseason camp. Ward said he could be back as early as this weekend’s game against Missouri.
AUDIO: Lorenzo Ward [3:00]