Pirates search for depth in first scrimmage

Published 3:37 pm Sunday, August 10, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — East Carolina coach Skip Holtz treated the Pirates’ first intra-squad scrimmage in the same manner that an NFL coach treats the preseason opener: He got a quick glimpse of his starters, then relegated them to the sidelines for the afternoon as he took a look at the reserves.
Holtz plan for Saturday was to start filling out the depth chart.
"Today we were just trying to come out here and evaluate personnel," said Holtz. "We have a lot of guys who redshirted last year and I think there’s an awful lot of competition – some with the starters and backups. Yet, I believe the biggest competition is between the second and third units. We’re trying to decide who’s going to make up the travel list, the kicking game, and those types of things.
"We gave our returners, our `ones' so to speak, only about 15-20 plays in this scrimmage," Holtz added. "It’s kind of like the first preseason game. You want to give them a little work, get them some contact and knock a little bit of the rust off. We’ll come back next week and it’ll be much more of an offense-defense oriented outing."
Among those young guys that shined on the turf of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium was sophomore wideout T.J. Terrell. Terrell hauled in a team-best seven catches for 114 yards.
Sophomore running backs Jonathan Williams and Norman Whitley also made great impressions in the scrimmage. Williams punched the ball into the endzone on two separate occasions after carrying the ball eight times for 41 yards. While Whitley failed to cross the goal line, he did manage to break off a couple of long runs, en route to 61 yards on seven carries.
Senior quarterback Patrick Pinkney ran with the Pirates’ first team — a position he’s held all preseason — and completed 12-of-21 passes for 182 yards. Junior Rob Kass guided the second unit and completed 10-of-17 passes for 92 yards with an interception
Although Pinkney and Kass donned red jerseys and were void of contact, the two quarterbacks were glad to get out on the field and face some live competition.
The scrimmage wrapped up the first segment of preseason camp. Today, the players will be given an off day for the first time since opening camp on Aug. 1. But Monday, they’ll be back on the field. And they’ve got some work to do.
Holtz said his team’s biggest concern at this point in the season is the kicking game.
The Pirates will scrimmage again on Saturday, before holding their annual Meet the Pirates Day that evening.