Carden heats up in second scrimmagePublished 6:07pm Saturday, April 13, 2013
GREENVILLE — East Carolina held its second scrimmage of the spring practice period on Saturday and fourth-year coach Ruffin McNeill said he was pleased with the team’s progress from a week ago.
“I liked today’s scrimmage. I thought we attacked well. This is a team with great competitive spirit,” McNeill said. “I thought the fundamentals improved from last week to this week. I saw that on both sides of the ball. We had some big plays offensively and had some things happen on defense that I liked.”
Once again, the Pirates passers looked sharp as returning starter Shane Carden completed his first eight attempts of the day and finished 19-22 for 233 yards and two touchdowns, while presumed backup Cody Keith went 12 for 18 for 116 yards and was intercepted once.
Overall, the ECU offense completed 75 percent of its passes for 438 yards, four TDs and two field goals.
Wideouts Justin Hardy and Danny Webster spearheaded the attack with six receptions and a touchdown apiece. Webster led all receivers with 73 yards, while Hardy tallied 61.
It wasn’t a highlight day for everybody though, as last week’s breakout star Bryce Williams struggled in his second scrimmage. After catching five passes for 93 yards a week ago, The 6-6, 240-pound sophomore transfer from Marshall had one catch for 12 yards on Saturday.
Williams, who was taken aback by all the notoriety gained from his first scrimmage, said that he is working toward being more consistent.
“I had to work hard to get known by the coaches and players then all of sudden I got some publicity and stuff, it was kind of cool and weird at first,” Williams said. “I was working on trying to get open today but I guess I just didn’t do it … I want to be that standout guy every time but it doesn’t always come, but I’m working on that.”
One guy who continues to make the most of his reps is sophomore RB Cory Hunter, who gained a modest 33 yards on nine attempts and scored once.
“Cory Hunter is taking advantage of his opportunities,” McNeill said. “He’s a guy who fights every day and has a good attitude.”
ECU’s H-back/fullback Zico Pasut led all rushers with 35 yards on four carries and scored once.
Defensively, the Pirates tallied 15 tackles for a loss and two turnovers during the near-80 play scrimmage and were led by LB Gabe Woullard and DB Dominique Lennon who had six tackles each.
Freshman DB DaShuan Amos earned the Pirates lone INT when he picked off a pass in the end zone.
East Carolina first-year defensive coordinator Rick Smith liked the effort of his front seven but the play of the secondary on Saturday didn’t go far to ease his concerns about the unit.
“I’m pleased, we’re getting the turnovers,” Smith said. “I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made … I’m trying to pressure some – send five or six guys – and that puts the safeties and the corners in man coverage and I’m disappointed in their fundamentals. They took their eyes off their guys a couple of times and they lost them.”
The Pirates will conclude their spring practice period next week when they play their annual Purple and Gold game.