In what most expect to be a transition, even rebuilding, year for the South Carolina football team, here’s five priorities that must be addressed for Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks during spring practice:

5. Play with purpose: We saw a little bit of this during the Gamecocks’ Independence Bowl victory over Miami, a team that was able to absorb the Hurricanes’ best comeback attempt and still win the game. It was the kind of resolve that escaped the program during much of last season after 3-of-6 losses came when double-digit leads were squandered in the fourth quarter. It’s unfair to compare the 2015 Gamecocks to any of Spurrier’s other 10 teams at South Carolina, but getting back to hard-nosed, confident football is paramount to competing for an Eastern Division title.

4. Adjust to Jon Hoke: South Carolina plugged its gaping hole on defense this month with the hire of this NFL assistant, Spurrier’s former defensive coordinator in Gainesville. He’ll blitz more than Lorenzo Ward’s units have over the last three seasons and hopefully simplify things for a relatively young defense. Scheme implementation is the first priority during spring ball as the Gamecocks adjust to a revamped playbook. Skai Moore and Jonathan Walton become key faces in the middle of the defense next season and their continued development will be under the microscope next month.

3. Iron out the quarterback situation: It’s been called a four-man race for weeks now but realistically speaking, Connor Mitch or Perry Orth will be South Carolina’s starting quarterback next fall against North Carolina. Whether either player retains the job the following week (or even during the game) remains to be seen, but competitors Michael Scarnecchia and incoming freshman Lorenzo Nunez aren’t game-ready at this point. Mitch and Orth have thrown just nine career passes combined, but each has knowledge of the offense and appears ready to battle this spring for the upperhand heading into a much more meaningful fall practice. Several of our writers at SDS have called the Gamecocks’ quarterback situation the most concerning in the SEC.

2. Establish a core of wide receivers behind Pharoh Cooper: Pharoh can’t do it all, can he? Developing a justifiable second threat between now and the season opener is important for this offense. K.J. Brent announced transfer intentions in January, while fellow junior pass-catcher Kane Whitehurst revealed that he would graduate in the fall, but not rejoin the team leaving the Gamecocks very thin at the position. South Carolina has just two other scholarship wide receivers — Shamier Jeffery (Alshon’s brother) and Carlton Heard — in addition to Cooper. The Gamecocks added three wide receivers in the 2015 class (including early enrollee Christian Owens) and welcome back three redshirt freshmen who should provide depth and possibly instant-impact this season.

1. Find pass rushers: Just a pulse. That’s all the Gamecocks need from a front four that was non-existent last season, registering the fewest numbers of sacks by a longshot in the SEC. JUCO transfer Marquavius Lewis is an upgrade from Darius English, who will now be challenged for his starting spot. Incoming tackles Dante Sawyer and Dexter Wideman also expect to play immediately. Consistency is the key for a position group that needs to alleviate some of the pressure off a youth-laden secondary.