First day in full pads goes well for USC

The Gamecocks hit the practice field again on Thursday, their first of three straight days of practice, as well as their first day of the spring going in full pads. On the first day of the NCAA tournament in men's basketball, Spurrier said there wasn't nearly as much action going on with his team today.

"Lot of action in basketball today, not too much action in football out here," asserted Spurrier. " Just another day of practice, trying to get better. A little bit more (physical), pushing guys to the ground, that was about it. (We're) trying to get better in a lot of areas."

Thursday's practice was more physical, with the defense mixing it up and laying some big hits at time. As is standard in early practices, Spurrier noted that the defense has made more progress and looks more confident on the field than the offense at this time.

"Overall, defense still pushing the offensive guys around," said Spurrier. "We're going try to scrimmage a little bit Saturday, around 11 o'clock probably. Hopefully the o-line can hold their own and the offense can make a few yards here and there and we'll see what happens."

The competition behind starting quarterback Stephen Garcia continues to heat up, but Spurrier said after practice that one guy had already separated himself from the pack in the first few spring practices.

"He did okay, Connor got a lot of snaps," noted Spurrier. "He did some decent things. We'll keep giving him a lot of snaps. He's probably number two right now, after three days."

Speaking of snaps, many Carolina fans that have attended the first few practices have noted the rapid pace at which the snaps seem to be coming, as USC moves toward a total no-huddle offense next season. So far, the Head Ball Coach has liked what he's seen, but says communication is the key to making the offense successful, and it has to improve.

"We haven't huddled yet, so we'll try the no huddle most of the day Saturday also," said Spurrier. "I like it, but guys need to communicate a little bit better. It's okay to tell your buddy what the play is if he doesn't get it. It's gone okay for three days now."

Along with other areas of need, Spurrier added that the team would be working on kickoff coverage a good bit this spring after giving up several kickoff returns for touchdown last season.

"We're trying to cover kickoffs better, trying to return some also," said Spurrier. "We covered pretty well most of the year but when you have three run-backs on you, that's not real good."

Notes

- RB Jarvis Giles will be fine after suffering a cramp during the latter stages of practice. Giles slipped on a cut and fell to the turf clutching his leg, prompting some gasps from the crowd gathered at the practice field. Spurrier said Giles needs to run better with his feet on the ground, and not dance as much.

- The Gamecocks will also host a coaching clinic this weekend, in addition to the scrimmage scheduled for Saturday.

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