South Carolina returned to the Proving Grounds on Tuesday for their first spring practice since March 7.

It looks like some of the players were still on Spring Break.

"We tried to make sure we came back out today and do some of the things that we did the first two days we were practicing before spring break," said Coach Lorenzo Ward on Tuesday, "but the offense kind of speeded up a little bit so we didn't get lined up like I thought we should but hopefully we'll be better on Thursday."

The Gamecocks took last week off for Spring Break but they were welcomed back on Tuesday to another practice. Only this time, they were in full pads for some actual hitting.

One of the leaders on this defense is junior defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles. Quarles has shown steady progression in his first two seasons as a Gamecock as is expected to take the next step this season as one of the stalwarts on the defensive line. 

Coach Ward has been pleased with Quarles and his efforts so far this spring. 

"Kelcy's been a good leader for us. Kelcy's come to practice with a lot of effort, and I like that, and he had a good offseason from what I understand and I'm really proud of the way he's come to practice these first three days."

Quarles' new defensive line coach, Deke Adams, is just three practices into his stint replacing the departed Brad Lawing. It's an easy job to step into with guys like Quarles and Jadeveon Clowney on the roster but he's still emphasizing that these players need to come out every day and prove themselves. 

"There's competition every day," said Adams. "I talk to the guys all the time, nothing is etched in stone. Those guys need to know they need to come out and work and prove themselves every day."

Another Gamecock coach, Grady Brown, has installed a new motto among his group of players this spring. 

"You can't miss layups," said defensive backs coach Grady Brown. "We've kind of adopted that in the room. You can't miss layups and we missed a couple of layups today. In this league, if you miss layups it's going to be tough to win."

Coach Brown may have a little March Madness on his mind, but he's certainly on to something with his metaphor. 

The SEC is no pushover and this spring is another opportunity for this defense to come together and get better each day.