McNeill gives film two thumbs up|Coach pleased after re-watching the scrimmage

Published 9:16 am Tuesday, April 6, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — Following Saturday’s scrimmage East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill said he felt satisfied with the work and execution done by not only his players, but his fellow coaches as well.
On Monday, the Pirates first-year coach reconfirmed that statement.
“I had the same thoughts after watching the film this weekend. I thought the execution was right on par for right now for where we are,” McNeill said. “I liked the way the kids competed. I was really pleased with the sideline organization on offense and defense.”
The day after a holiday always has potential to be a challenge for any coaching staff, but on Monday McNeill praised the effort of the Pirates.
“It’s a good group,” McNeill said. “This is a group that really wants to do well and they have high expectations individually, and more importantly, collectively.”
Practicing in temperatures hovering around 90 degrees, ECU continued to use the spring practice session to focus on the basics.
“Spring for us is just working on fundamentals everyday,” McNeill said. “Then there are always some schematic things that we work on, on both sides of the ball and team practices when I put them in tough offensive situations and tough defensive situations.”
As far as schemes goes, McNeill said that the offense has digested almost the entire playbook, but the defense still has more to learn.
“Offensively they have most of it or all of it in,” McNeill said. “Defensively there are still some packages that (defensive coordinator) Brian (Mitchell) and his staff has not installed, but they have a good portion of the base in and they are doing some sub packages right now.”
The new coaching staff has wiped the slate clean for just about everyone on either side of the ball, which has set off some good position battles.
The most notable one is at quarterback, but a large portion of the Pirates defense will be new this year too.
East Carolina lost nine starters on the defensive side of the ball from last year’s C-USA title winning team and six starters on offense.
McNeill said that the picture is becoming a little bit clearer in some of the contested spots.
“There are some guys that are stepping up. There are some guys that have improved from Day 1 and there are some guys that are really climbing, but there are also some guys who took a step back. But that’s what spring is for.”
The Pirates will take another step towards clearing up some of their roster spots on Saturday, April 10 when they hold their second official scrimmage of the spring.
RB Norman Whitley returned to practice Monday after missing Saturday’s scrimmage because of a family matter … WR Dwayne Harris was on the receiving end of two more scoring passes during the team-on-team period – grabbing a 15-yarder from Rio Johnson and a nine-yarder from Brad Wornick during situational “inside-the-10” drills … Wornick also found WR Joe Womack with a 27-yard TD strike during the same segment. (ECU)