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Pirates return to the gridiron

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — As sweat dripped off his forehead, Rob Kass couldn’t contain his smile shortly after walking away from the Cliff Moore Practice Facility.
Kass, who will be East Carolina’s starting quarterback this season, and his Pirate teammates wrapped up the first day of practice on a sweltering Friday afternoon. The 6-4, 250-pound sophomore looked like he could have gone a couple more hours.
ECU coach Skip Holtz, who led his Pirates to a 7-6 record and to a bowl game last year, was encouraged with the team’s first practice.
The Pirates have less than a month to get ready for their season opener. ECU kicks off the 2007 season Sept. 1 against the Virginia Tech Hokies in Blacksburg, Va.
The players will be getting the majority of those reps during some of the hottest portions of the day.
For sophomore defensive end C.J. Wilson, the former Northside High School standout said he and his teammates were prepared for a grueling practice.
The 6-4, 265-pounder, who led the Pirates in sacks last year, knew what to expect when he took the field.
Wilson, like many of his teammates, will be battling for a starting job this season. An abundance of talent may make Holtz’s decisions on naming starters a bit tougher, but he said that’s a good problem to have.
For Kass, who completed 14-of-30 passes for 187 yards and an interception last year, he seems to have a job locked up. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be slacking off.
Holtz knows his quarterback is familiar with the system. Now it’s just a matter of getting the youngster some reps under center.
Kass will get a big test in his first start for the Pirates on Sept. 1. However, he’s excited about the challenge.