Spring Football Notebook No. 3
March 29, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After two non-contact orientation workouts in shorts and helmets, fourth-year head coach Ruffin McNeill and the East Carolina Pirates began their spring schedule in earnest Friday afternoon by working for two hours in full pads on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.
The session 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 on April 20.
Even after adding the extra equipment, McNeill and his staff maintained their commitment to fundamental emphasis while also continuing the introduction of new defensive concepts and schemes under new coordinator Rick Smith. Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley guided his unit through the review process of its schemes on that side of the ball.
"It always seems like the first day in pads starts a little sluggish, but I was happy to see the enthusiasm pick up pretty quickly," McNeill said. "The fundamental approach never changes, so playing with great pad level and working on offensive and defensive execution is what we're looking for.
After a pair of special teams periods that covered kickoffs and punts, the Pirates engaged in a non-scout team-on-team segment that featured live competition between top three levels of the offensive and defensive depth charts for the first time this spring.
During the team session, which was conducted in an up-tempo mode, Pirate quarterbacks Shane Carden, Cody Keith and Kurt Benkert completed a combined 16-of-22 passes for 98 yards. Carden contributed 46 yards on seven completions, while Keith connected on all six of his throws for 33 yards and Benkert added 19 on a three-of-four effort. Quataye Smyre, Reese Wiggins and Justin Hardy each grabbed receptions of 10 or more yards and Cory Hunter tallied the period's only score with a 12-yard run.
The Pirates will wrap up their first week of work with a mid-morning practice Saturday before opening their second week of action Monday and beginning preparations for ECU's first full intra-squad scrimmage of the spring scheduled for Saturday, April 6 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
EAST CAROLINA'S 2013 SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE