ECU QBs get another chance to shine|Pirates prepare for second scrimamge

Published 9:49 am Friday, April 9, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — The Pirates will take the field at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday for their second official scrimmage of the spring, giving them one final tuneup before the annual Purple and Gold game set for April 17.
The scrimmage will allow for another chance to monitor the quarterback battle and evaluate the progress of East Carolina young guns Brad Wornick, Josh Jordan and Rio Johnson.
Last Saturday during the Pirates first scrimmage of the spring Wornick, a 6-2, 185-pound sophomore walk-on, was the first quarterback to take snaps during the exhibition and connected on 16 of his 25 pass attempts for 146 yards. Wornick, a scout team QB a year ago, accounted for two of ECU’s three touchdown passes, hitting senior wide receiver Dwayne Harris for TD tosses of two and three yards. Wornick was also responsible for the Pirates only interception of the day when MLB Steve Spence picked him off early in the scrimmage.
While Wornick’s outing was solid, so was the play of his competition. Jordan, last season’s No. 2 quarterback behind Patrick Pinkney, tallied the most passing yards (170) as he hit on 16 of his 23 pass attempts, but the sophomore failed to get his crew in the end zone.
Redshirt freshman Rio Johnson (6-2, 185) appeared to be the most mobile of the trio while being just as accurate. Johnson accounted for ECU’s third TD, a four-yard pass to Dayon Arrington, and finished the day 15 of 23 for 114 yards.
The good news is that all three of the young quarterback’s looked competent, the bad news is that neither put forth a performance that allowed them to distinguish themselves from the other two.
All three quarterbacks will benefit greatly from having some experience and talent around them. Harris is an all-conference wideout who is ECU’s all-time leader in receptions and could post extraordinary numbers in McNeill’s spread attack.
Junior wideout Darryl Freeney played great towards the end of last season, while 6-8, 252-pound redshirt freshman TE/WR Justin Jones has looked like a stud all spring.
Whoever mans the QB position will also have some good protection as all-conference linemen Willie Smith (Sr, 6-6, 290) and D.J. Scott (Sr, 6-6, 323) are back for another year, along with fellow returning starter Cory Dowless (Sr, 6-5, 309).
Also taking some of the pressure off of the quarterbacks this year will be a solid group of running backs. Seniors Jonathan Williams and Norman Whitley have looked good this spring and have a lot of experience, while young rushers Michael Dobson (RS freshman) and Alex Owah (freshman) have had their moments.
Like the quarterback battle, the race to the top of the depth chart at running back is a close one. Last scrimmage Dobson led all rushers with 35 yards on only two carries, while Williams was second with 31 on eight attempts and Owah accumulated 17 yards on eight carries.