Spring Football Notebook No. 5

UABSPORTS.COM Head Coach Ruffin McNeill
Head Coach Ruffin McNeill

April 1, 2013

Post-Practice Interviews

GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina started its countdown to the program's first intra-squad scrimmage of the spring with a two-hour workout in shells Monday afternoon on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.

After a pair of full-pad sessions last Friday and Saturday, head coach Ruffin McNeill elected to trim the equipment slightly to open the Pirates' second week of action and start preparations for this Saturday's contest at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. ECU is scheduled to engage in nine more contact practices, including another intra-squad contest on April 13 and the Purple-Gold Game on April 20.

"I thought we were a little sluggish in some parts, but I was proud of the guys for fighting through it," McNeill said. "Offensively, we're getting a lot of plays in, and defensively, everyone is catching on to what (coordinator) Rick (Smith) wants. This is a very resilient bunch with the largest group of leaders since we've been here."

Following traditional individual work, the Pirate offense ran through its quick game, receiving routes, screens and inside rushing scripts, while the defense continued to address run reaction, one-on-one pass rush and secondary coverage, and line blitzes.

Similar to the two full-gear workouts late last week, the Pirates closed the outing with 15-minute pass skeleton drills and a 26-minute team session that featured matchups between members of ECU's current positional depth chart.

Quarterbacks Shane Carden (7-of-9, 52 yards), Cody Keith (6-of-10, 51) and Kurt Benkert (3-of-3, 78) took the snaps during the team session and combined on a 16-of-22, 181-yard passing effort. Benkert turned in the longest play of the drill by finding Jabril Solomon in a seam for a 60-yard toss, while Chris Hairston topped all rushers with 28 yards on six carries - one of which reached the endzone from three yards out.

Among the Pirate defense's highlights were solo sacks by Jeton Beavers and Montese Overton, and additional pressure from Maurice Falls, who combined with Johnathon White and Gabriel Woullard for two more quarterback drops.

East Carolina will return to the practice facility Wednesday afternoon for its sixth workout.

NOTES: After missing the first week of drills, junior inside linebacker Jeremy Grove (left shoulder) and sophomore defensive end/nose tackle Terrell Stanley (left knee) were cleared to practice Monday and participated with the Pirates for the first time this spring.

Next Workout: Wednesday, April 3 (3:30-5:50 p.m.)
Remaining Workouts: April 5, April 6 (scrimmage), April 8, April 10, April 12, April 13 (scrimmage), April 15, April 17 and April 20 (Purple-Gold Game, 2:30 p.m.)