DB Travis Phillips
March 24, 2014
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After a pair of non-contact orientation workouts in shorts and helmets, East Carolina took its next step of the spring by moving to shells for a two-hour practice Monday afternoon on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.
The session was the first of 12 which will be conducted in gear, including a pair of scrimmages and the Purple-Gold Spring Game on April 12.
Despite the added equipment, fifth-year head coach Ruffin McNeill and his staff remained consistent with its emphasis on fundamentals and continued the review process of ECU's schemes on offense, defense and special teams.
"I thought we had great focus today, especially going in pads for the first time," McNeill said. "I really like the competitive spirit we have and the direction we're going. We've got old guys teaching young guys out there and I think that says something about the type of leadership we're capable of having."
Among the early highlights of the workout were two 10-minute special team segments which covered kickoff returns and coverage, a team run phase and a 30-snap pass skeleton drill before the Pirates closed practice by engaging in a 25-minute non-scout team-on-team period that featured live competition between top three levels of the offensive and defensive depth charts for the first time this spring.
During the up-tempo team session, senior Shane Carden completed eight-of-11 passes for 52 yards and redshirt freshman Kurt Benkert was three-of-six for 21 yards, including a long of 15 to sophomore Davon Grayson on his first toss, to highlight quarterbacking play. On the other hand, the Pirate defense was spearheaded by a sack from senior Terry Williams, a batted pass by sophomore K'Hadree Hooker and an interception by sophomore Cameron White to help force five third-down stops.
ECU will return to work Wednesday and Friday to continue preparations for its first full intra-squad scrimmage of the spring scheduled for Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
NOTES: Sophomore outside receiver DaQuan Barnes was sidelined for the second-straight workout because of a left leg injury ... ECU's annual Pro Day is scheduled for this Thursday and a list of former Pirates expected to participate will be released Wednesday.
EAST CAROLINA'S 2014 SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE
Next Workout: Wednesday, March 26 (3:45-6:00 p.m.)
Remaining Workouts: March 28, March 29 (scrimmage), March 31, April 2, April 4, April 5 (scrimmage), April 7, April 9, April 11 and April 12 (Purple-Gold Game, 2:30 p.m.)