ECU to hold first scrimmage|Pirates step up effort in practice

Published 8:52 am Saturday, April 3, 2010

By Staff
 ECU Sports Information
GREENVILLE — After starting the week with a listless performance Monday, East Carolina bounced back with a pair of focused practices, including Friday’s two-hour shells-only workout inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex that also capped preparations for the Pirates’ initial intra-squad scrimmage scheduled for Saturday.
 The session was the ECU’s seventh of the spring period and leaves just eight more workouts to go, including two scrimmages and the annual Purple-Gold Spring Game set for April 17.
 In an effort to remain rested and crisp for Saturday’s contest, first-year head coach Ruffin McNeill trimmed 40 minutes off Friday’s practice duration. The Pirates still spent considerable time, albeit in a polish mode with limited contact, keying on screens, one-on-one receiver-secondary matchups, pass skeleton, team-on-team and special teams work.
 McNeill indicated a goal for the scrimmage would be the completion of 100 plays with full inclusion of all levels of the Pirates’ current personnel for evaluation and game-tape purposes. In addition, the contest will feature a full officiating crew and game-day headset communication from the pressbox to field level between McNeill, coordinators Brian Mitchell (defense) and Lincoln Riley (offense), and other coaches.
 “I’m looking forward to getting a chance to see what this group can do in full speed mode,” McNeill said. “Although we’ll be more in a game flow with drives and possessions, we’ll throw in surprise situations for not only the players, but for coaches as well to see how we react.”
 After the completion of Saturday’s scrimmage, which is closed to the public, ECU will take Easter Sunday off before opening its third week of work Monday.
 “I thought we closed the week well and I’m really pleased with this group’s attention to detail,” McNeill added. “However, we’ll keep harping on the fundamentals, that’s for sure.”
In addition to previously mentioned players DE Josh Smith (upper leg) and DT Michael Brooks (knee), four others will sit out Saturday’s scrimmage because of injuries – freshman LB Ty Holmes (concussion), senior LB Wes Pittman (leg), sophomore defensive back Jack Schultz (ankle) and junior center Will Towery (knee) … In another development, sophomore DE Allen Crowder notified McNeill that he has decided to leave the East Carolina program for personal reasons.
Next Workout: Saturday, April 3 (10:00 a.m. – 12 noon)
Remaining Workouts: April 5, April 7, April 9, April 10 (scrimmage), April 12, April 14 and April 17 (Purple-Gold Game, 2:00 p.m.)
Remaining General Public/Open Practice Date: April 14