Pirates prepare for scrimmage

Published 7:04 pm Friday, August 9, 2013

GREENVILLE — East Carolina wrapped up its eighth practice of its preseason camp on Friday and fourth-year coach Ruffin McNeill said he was pleased with the work ethic and attitude of his players on the eve of today’s scrimmage.
“We shortened up a little bit but it was a lively practice, very competitive,” McNeill said. “We’ve had a competitive spirit. These guys really compete against one another in each drill. I appreciate effort. They really attack practice.”
The Pirates will scrimmage today from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and McNeill said his focus will be on fundamentals.
“I’m looking for execution first, from a team aspect,” McNeill said. “The second thing I’m looking for from us is to be a smart football team penalty-wise and for us to take care of the ball on offense and get takeaways on defense. I want to make sure that we’re fundamentally sound.”
McNeill added that special teams will not be a part of the scrimmage, which will be closed to the media and public.
Heading into the 2013 season, the ECU pass defense has been a focal point after allowing 275.64 yards per game in 2012 and on Friday first-year defensive coordinator Rick Smith said the secondary has impressed so far.
“They’ve given a great effort. We’re going to be good back there, you can write that down,” Smith said. “The corners have gotten so much better. Josh Hawkins and Detric Allen are doing a great job. Adonis Armstrong has had a tremendous camp. A young redshirt freshman, DeShaun Amos is really doing well, and we’re working the two young freshmen out of Atlanta, Travon Simmons and DaShawn Benton, and they are really doing well.”
On Media Day McNeill noted that two to three players’ team status was uncertain and when asked about that on Friday he said there have not been any new updates.

Injury list
The Pirates announced on Friday that DE Justin Dixon (knee), DE Lee Pegues (concussion), OL Chaz Lowery (knee) will be sidelined for today’s scrimmage. DE Randall Anderson (toe), WR Lance Ray (leg), DB Christian Simmons (leg) are each questionable for the exhibition.