High temperatures push back pads for Pirates

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2011

GREENVILLE — For the third straight day East Carolina operated under its “heat index” practice schedule, which pushes practice from the afternoon into the morning. With temperatures hovering around the mid-90s, the Pirates delayed the beginning of their full-contact practices from Tuesday to today when they will begin two-a-days with full pads practices in the morning and shells in the afternoon.
“It’s very humid in the morning, I think that’s obvious here. The heat index is very high and I rely on (head athletic trainer) Mike Hanley, one of the best sports medicine guys in the country, to alert myself and our coaches,” McNeill said. “The morning time works great for us, we get a lot of work done. We have a lot of the day to review film and meet with our players, and (strength and conditioning coach) (Jeff) Connors has a chance to either lift, or rehab, or replenish (the players).”
Despite not having full gear on, the Pirates still wore helmets and shoulder pads and conducted physical drills.
“It’s always (about) fundamentals when we have the pads on. Fundamentals and technique is always the emphasis,” McNeill said. “We hit each other right now with shoulder pads on, it’s a collision sport not a contact sport.”
The Pirates can expect the intensity to be raised today when the team dons full pads for the first time.
“We’ll have three two-a-days this camp. The first one is (today) and I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to test them a little bit, it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable,” McNeill said.
On Tuesday, the Pirates did team-on-team drills before working on goal-line situations for the first time this camp. For the second straight day ECU closed out practice with a 12-minute session dedicated solely to the freshmen on the team, allowing them to be better evaluated by the staff.