Spring Football Notebook No. 4

Rio Johnson

March 24, 2012

Photo Gallery |  Practice Highlights and Interviews

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Calling it a "spirited and up-tempo" start, East Carolina Head Football Coach Ruffin McNeill and his staff wrapped up the first week of spring drills by directing the Pirates through a two-hour workout Saturday morning on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.

Saturday's session was ECU's fourth of the spring and second conducted in pads, although McNeill did elect to minimize the equipment slightly by putting his team in shells after Friday's full-gear practice.

The Pirates maintained an emphasis on defensive, offensive and special team principles and fundamentals by working through different positional and unit periods. A 26-minute team-on-team segment that primarily addressed third down efficiency and a two-minute tempo pace concluded the workout. ECU will have 10 more days remaining that will feature contact work, including two intra-squad scrimmages and the Purple-Gold Game scheduled for April 14.

"I'm pleased with the competitive spirit of this team," McNeill said. "We're flying around the ball and trying to establish a tempo that we need to play at. I've seen improvement collectively as a group and individually, and I like where we're going so far. I'm looking forward to picking it back up again Monday."

The Pirate defense turned up the pressure during Saturday's scrimmage-like 11-on-11 team period, forcing hurried throws and scrambles that helped produce a pair of interceptions by cornerbacks Adonis Armstrong and Jacobi Jenkins. It was junior Rio Johnson's turn in the rotation to take the majority of snaps in the segment and the junior responded by completing 11-of-12 passes for 115 yards, which included a long toss of 40 down the right sideline to sophomore Justin Hardy.

East Carolina will open the second week of work Monday, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

NOTES: Medical evaluations determined that junior nose tackle Leroy Vick suffered a concussion during Friday's workout ... Vick, who was transported to Vidant Medical Center from ECU's practice facility, was kept overnight for observation and is expected to be released later Saturday ... At this time, no immediate date has been projected for him to return to active playing status this spring.

Next Workout: Monday, March 26 (3:30-5:50 p.m.)
Remaining Workouts: 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.)