East Carolina running back Vintavious Cooper and the Pirates will participate in their second scrimmage of fall camp today inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. (Rob Goldberg | ECU Media Relations)
East Carolina running back Vintavious Cooper and the Pirates will participate in their second scrimmage of fall camp today inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. (Rob Goldberg | ECU Media Relations)

Archived Story

Position battles continue for Pirates

Published 5:11pm Friday, August 16, 2013

GREENVILLE —Pirates players will get another opportunity to fight their way up the depth chart today as East Carolina will hold its second scrimmage of fall camp this morning inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
First-year defensive coordinator Rick Smith, who was impressed with his unit’s play in last week’s scrimmage, said that there are still plenty of position battles taking place on the defensive side of the ball.
“(There is a battle) at boundary corner between Detric Allen and Josh Hawkins. We got a pretty good battle going on at strong safety between (seniors) Chip Thompson and Michael Dobson,” Smith said. “We got some competition at linebacker. (Junior) Brandon Williams at Buck (inside linebacker) is really playing well and is pushing (senior Kyle) Tudor, who had some MAs (missed assignments) today. (Devaris) Bronson, the freshman (linebacker), is working into the depth chart.
“We got a few guys out on the D-line, but a guy who is really coming on is (freshman Demetri) McGill, he’s really doing good and has a chance to play this year. Right now he’s second team and he’s working really hard.
“At Sam, (freshman Dayon) Pratt has moved up ahead of (sophomore) Montese Overton. He’s second team and is really playing well, I feel like that second spot at Sam could end up being Pratt.”
Offensively, the Pirates struggled last week despite a solid effort by the line. Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said he is looking for his unit to tighten up today.
As with the defense, the offense still has many key battles still taking place. At center, junior Taylor Hudson and sophomore C.J. Struyk are locked in a heated fight for the starting position, while a bevvy of players are trying to work their way into the running back and receiver rotation.
“There’s a lot of position battles going on right now,” Riley said. “There’s position battles for now, but there are things going on where a guy might be close to making a move on a guy, maybe not by the first game, but maybe into the season the way (QB) Shane (Carden) did last season.”
One of the more interesting battles is at running back where 1,000-yard rusher Vintavious Cooper is being challenged by a pair of inexperienced sophomores in Chris Hairston and Cory Hunter.
Riley said the one who is the most well-rounded will get the most minutes.
“I don’t want to be limited to what I can call during a game,” Riley said. “They don’t have to be great at everything, but they can’t have a weakness where we can’t run something.
“They all have different outstanding skills. Tay’s got great quickness and a little bit more experience. Cory’s skill is just that he’s just really good at everything. He’s a smart, tough, dependable football player and Chris has that breakaway (speed), no question.”

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