ECU football team developing depth

Published 1:56 pm Thursday, April 9, 2009

By By GREG KATSKI, Staff Writer
GREENVILLE— The East Carolina football team’s second scrimmage of the spring season Wednesday evening at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium helped develop depth and camaraderie, according to Pirates head coach Skip Holtz.
ECU released its first two-deep depth chart for the upcoming season Tuesday, and projected starters at key positions shined in the scrimmage.
Sixth-year senior quarterback Patrick Pinkney started the scrimmage completing 12-of-14 passes, and finished 17-for-24 with 166 yards through the air. The Pirates’ projected starting quarterback connected with sophomore wide receiver Darryl Freeney on a 23-yard scoring strike.
On defense, junior starting cornerback Travis Simmons returned an interception 34 yards.
Holtz said his starting squads on both sides of the ball are all but set at this point in the spring season, but
wants to keep his units “sharp and fresh.”
The coaching staff will continue to evaluate individuals for spots on the second and third teams.
The 13 or so players with game time experience sitting out the spring season with injuries will be integrated into the two-deep.
Players recuperating include seniors with heavy game time experience, including linebacker Nick Johnson, defensive linemen Jay Ross and Scotty Robinson and offensive lineman Doug Palmer
Junior defensive tackle Linval Joseph saw the lack of a veteran presence on the field Wednesday. He said the defense came out flat-footed.
Joseph said underclassmen and newcomers to the team have been spoiled by the success of recent seasons.
ECU’s top three offensive units capitalized on the lackluster effort by the Pirates’ defensive squads. In particular, ECU’s quarterbacks posted big numbers.
Pinkney, fellow senior Rob Kass and redshirt freshman Josh Jordan completed 35-of-53 passes for 327 yards.
Kass connected with wide receiver Jamar Bryant on a 37-yard bomb, while Jordan hit sophomore wide receiver Michael Bowman on a 31-yarder.
Transfer running back Brandon Jackson and senior back J.R. Rogers combined for a triple-digit rushing performance while taking the majority of the carries on the afternoon. Jackson, listed as the squad’s starting running back, had the longest rush of the game at 18 yards.
The sophomore transfer from the University of Kentucky thinks the team’s top offense is coming together nicely.
Although he currently sits atop the depth chart at running back, Jackson knows he’ll be looking over his shoulder all season.
Holtz is looking for that same camaraderie across the board. With another scrimmage in the books, he believes it will soon develop.
The fruits of the squad’s labor and hard work this spring will be on full-display during ECU’s annual Purple-Gold Game on April 18 at 3 p.m. at Dowdy-Ficklen.