March 23, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After opening their spring practice schedule with two non-contact sessions in shorts and helmets, third-year East Carolina Head Coach Ruffin McNeilland the Pirates took the next step Friday afternoon by working in full pads for two-and-a-half hours on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.
The workout was the first of 12 which will be conducted in full gear or shells, including a pair of scrimmages and the Purple-Gold Spring Game April 14.
Despite the added equipment, McNeill and his staff spent the majority of the practice stressing fundamentals and continued the review process of ECU's schemes on both sides of the ball.
"I thought we came out a little sluggish, which I feared might happen with the added weight they were carrying around for the first time since November," McNeill said. "However, we picked it up as we went along and that was encouraging to see. It probably wasn't exactly what we wanted as a whole, but I know we'll be ready to come out tomorrow with a purpose."
Included in the highlights during the middle of the workout were two separate special teams segments and a pair of 10-minute periods devoted to the inside running game and one-on-one matchups between receivers and defensive backs. East Carolina closed practice with a 60-snap pass skeleton drill and team-on-team work for the final 30 minutes.
During the team session, which included a heavy dose of situational snaps, Pirate quarterbacks completed a combined 16-of-18 passes for 168 yards. Sophomore Shane Carden contributed 75 yards - 42 on one strike to junior inside receiver Justin Jones during his initial series. Redshirt freshman Cody Keith tossed the only touchdown pass, finding senior outside receiver Dayon Arrington on a 15-yarder on his initial throw of the period. On the other hand, senior outside linebacker Chris Bakertallied a pair of sacks to highlight the defensive effort.
The Pirates will close out their first week of work with an early morning practice Saturday before opening their second week of action Monday and start preparations for ECU's first full intra-squad scrimmage of the spring scheduled for Saturday, March 31 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
NOTES: Junior nose tackle Leroy Vick, who missed the entire 2011 season because of a left knee injury sustained last April 2, was transported to Vidant Medical Center for further evaluations after suffering an unspecified injury during the early stages of the team-on-team period ... His status will be released when information becomes available ... Because of a deteriorating weather forecast that includes widespread thunderstorms Saturday, McNeill announced the Pirates will move up their practice to an 8:00 a.m. start.
EAST CAROLINA'S 2012 SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE
Next Workout: Saturday, March 24 (8:00 a.m.-10:15 a.m.)
Remaining Workouts: March 26, March 28, March 30, March 31 (scrimmage), April 2, April 4, April 6, April 7 (scrimmage), April 9, April 11 and April 14 (Purple-Gold Game, 2:30 p.m.)