Pirates to hold first scrimmagePublished 4:06pm Friday, April 5, 2013
GREENVILLE — East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill will get a chance to better evaluate the progress of his players during the spring practice period today as the Pirates will play the first of three scheduled scrimmages.
The scrimmage, which will be closed to the public and media, is slated to begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 1 p.m. and the Pirates’ fourth-year coach is placing a premium on fundamentals.
“We’re always looking for effort. I talk a lot about fundamentals and I want to see them play with great fundamentals on both sides of the ball,” McNeill said. “We’re looking at the basics in blocking and tackling, footwork by the quarterbacks and route running by receivers. On the defensive side of the ball, we want to see them getting into the right gap and playing with great pad leverage.”
The scrimmage will exclude special teams and McNeill said it could last anywhere from 80 to 100 plays with the coaches manning their game day positions on the sideline and up in the box.
East Carolina returns eight starters on each side of the ball, but there are plenty of position battles to keep on eye on.
“In the secondary there is some competition for some spots, definitely,” McNeill said. “At outside linebacker you have Gabe Woullard and Montese Overton and the young guy Dayon Pratt. We have a lot of athleticism at that outside position.
“At Will, we have Derrell (Johnson) and Maurice (Falls), who have done a good job for us, along with Jake Geary.
“Offensively, we have a lot of guys competing for spots at three of the four wide receiver positions.”
The scrimmage will be the first for the players under first-year defensive coordinator Rick Smith and McNeill said he is pleased with the transition so far.
“Just eyeballing them today (Wednesday) I thought they made progress from Monday’s practice to now,” McNeill said. “Rick is getting used to what our guys can do. They play hard, have speed and can run. Rick is instituting what he believes philosophy-wise and has done a good job with that and the players are receptive.”
Inside linebacker Jeremy Grove , NT Chrishon Rose and DE Terrell Stanley will see limited action today due to injuries, while WR Chris Cacciola, DE Justin Dixon, FS Damon Magazu, DE Matt Milner and RB Jamal Tillman will not participate.