Pirates' QB job still up for grabs|ECU to hold final scrimmage today

Published 11:51 am Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sports Writer

GREENVILLE – On the eve of the final scrimmage of the Pirates’ training camp East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill was happy with the work his team put in leading up to the exhibition.
“I thought we were prepared for the last scrimmage, and the preparation has been great (for the second one),” McNeill said. “The coaches have done a great job and are very professional and the players have done a great job preparing and getting ready to perform. I thought we did a great job last week, and I know we’ll have a great one tomorrow.”
McNeill said today’s scrimmage will not be the end-all-be-all as far as the depth chart is concerned.
“That’s a day to day deal, it’s not just about the scrimmage,” McNeill said. “I know some teams might do it on a scrimmage basis but we do it day to day. Tomorrow’s focus will be on the execution of offense, defense and special teams.”
Heading into today’s scrimmage the three-legged race for the starting quarterback job between sophomore walk-on Brad Wornick, redshirt freshman Rio Johnson and junior transfer Dominique Davis appears to be wide open.
“There’s no front runner right now, I know you guys are waiting for me to say there is one,” first-year offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said. “Obviously after the scrimmage we are going to have to start narrowing it down quick and we will. They are all playing well and seem more consistent. There is not just one guy who dominates day in and day out, but it’s not like any of them are bad, and that’s good because it means you have a good competition.”
Each of the three quarterbacks have their pros and cons. The key to winning the job will be whoever eliminates their respective flaws the fastest.
“I’m look for them to improve on their weaknesses,” Riley said. “I think Brad makes the best decisions but we continue to work on him physically throwing the ball. He’s not throwing it bad, but that’s his thing, he needs to work on throwing the ball and leadership. Dominique has the leadership and all that, he needs to work on the throws and the decisions. Rio throws the ball the best out of all of them, but he needs to work on maturity and decision making. They all have some strengths and they all have some weaknesses. We are looking for who can make their weaknesses better.”
Aside from the quarterbacks, Riley will be looking for skill players that are steadily doing the right things.
“We need to see consistency,” Riley said. “We have had explosion from them, we have had great catches and long runs after the catch. We are doing some good things because the competition is so good. We are only traveling two-deep and at most of the positions I feel like we got three guys that we feel like we can win with. It’s just going to be who steps up and does it every day.”
One position that appears to be locked down is at running back, where Jonathan Williams has galloped ahead of the competition.
“He’s the No. 1 back, he’s been the best,” Riley said. “Giavanni (Ruffin) and (Michael) Dobson are in a really tight battle for the No. 2 spot.”
The receiver positions are still in flux. East Carolina’s all-time receptions leader Dwayne Harris is certain to start at the inside receiver Y position, but he is the only wideout that can be penciled in with certainty.
“I feel like Lance Lewis right now is starting to take hold of the (outside receiver) X job, and behind him is Dayon (Arrington), Mike Price, (Javon) Brumsey and T.J. Terrell. There is a tight battle there,” Riley said. “(Outside receiver) Z is close, you got three guys there in (Darryl) Freeney, (Andrew) Bodenheimer and (Joe) Womack who just take turns playing well. At H (inside receiver) you got (Michael) Bowman who is starting to separate himself, but Jeremy Davis has been just as solid, and freshman Justin Hardy may be one of the best freshman receivers I have every been around. I don’t want his head to get too big right now, but he is going to be very special.”