Mixed resultes at Pirates scrimmagePublished 4:32pm Saturday, August 10, 2013
GREENVILLE — The Pirates first scrimmage of fall camp featured mixed results on offense and a strong effort on defense, but overall fourth-year coach Ruffin McNeill was happy with the way it turned out.
“I thought the guys were ready to go. After a full week of practice they attacked it well,” McNeill said. “We had some positive things happen today. We saw some young players step up and make some plays. The offensive line did a good job … The defense did a good job and the rotations made some plays. They’re really catching on to what (defensive coordinator) Rick (Smith) wants.”
Not in attendance was 6’8” senior TE/WR Justin Jones, whose status with the team remains murky, as he has not been in camp so far this fall. McNeill mentioned on Media Day that there were two to three members of the team whose rosters spots were uncertain and on Saturday the picture did not get any clearer.
“We’re still waiting on that. I can’t give a comment on that,” said McNeill.
The Pirates high-powered offense had some inconsistencies as the offensive line turned in a solid performance, but the skill position players were a bit up and down.
“I saw a first and second O-line that I thought were really good and played really well and I saw a bunch of skill guys that didn’t play very good,” offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said. “I thought we weren’t very good at making the routine play. … We had some spectacular throws and some spectacular catches … but we had a lot of no-gainers that put ourselves in some bad situations.”
Quarterback Shane Carden was shaky early as he started out completing only three of his first eight pass attempts and was intercepted once. However, the junior finished strong, hitting five of his final seven attempts, with one of them being a perfectly placed six-yard fade pass to freshman WR Davon Grayson. Overall, Carden finished 8-15 for 58 yards.
Justin Hardy led all wideouts with 16 yards on two receptions, while Quataye Smyre gained 10 yards on two grabs.
Sophomore running back Cory Hunter continued to impress as he rushed for a team-high 33 yards on four attempts on Saturday.
“Cory Hunter was the best running back on the field, without question,” Riley said. “He ran, blocked and caught it well. He played really well from top to bottom.”
Freshman RB Marquez Grayson also had a solid performance as he rushed for 33 yards on nine attempts.
Defensively, ECU was led by safety Michael Dobson and linebacker Maurice Falls, who had six tackles each. Freshman DB DeShaun Amos had one interception and LB Zeek Bigger had two tackles for a loss.
Smith, who is in his first year as defensive coordinator for the Pirates, said the day went well for the defense and gave them an A-minus for their effort.
“Well, the Ones shut them out and the Twos gave up one on the goal-line, so if you can hold anybody to seven points that’s got to be at least an A-minus,” Smith said.