IWR Justin Hardy
April 5, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After opening the week with a sluggish start, East Carolina bounced back with a pair of sharp practices, including Friday's 100-minute shells-only workout on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex that also capped preparations for the Pirates' initial intra-squad scrimmage scheduled for Saturday.
The outing was ECU's seventh of the spring period and leaves eight more to go, including the annual Purple-Gold Game set for April 20.
In an effort to remain crisp for Saturday's contest, fourth-year head coach Ruffin McNeill trimmed 20 minutes off Friday's practice duration and kept the Pirates out of full gear. ECU still spent considerable time, albeit in limited contact mode, keying on screens, goal line routes, rush execution and reaction, one-on-one receiver-defensive back matchups, pass skeleton, team-on-team and special teams work.
McNeill indicated the scrimmage would be scripted for approximately 100 plays and that all levels of the Pirates' current personnel are expected to experience action for evaluation and game-tape purposes. In addition, the contest will feature a full officiating crew and game-day head-set communication from the pressbox to field level between McNeill, coordinators Rick Smith (defense) and Lincoln Riley (offense), and other coaches.
"We're looking for effort, execution on offense, defense and special teams, and fundamentals as always," McNeill said. "We've done a good job emphasizing fundamentals so far and I'm happy with the way our guys continue to develop in that area. Scrimmages are a great evaluation opportunity, and with that said, I expect a lot of the younger guys to play. That's obviously one of our goals."
During the Pirates' 11-on-11 team session Friday, ECU's defense limited the offensive passing game to only 87 yards on 12 completions in 24 attempts. Shane Carden connected with Justin Hardy on 14 and 12-yarders for the two longest gainers during the period before the former finished with a 10-of-17, 76-yard effort. Defensively, Derrell Johnson, Jeton Beavers, Kyle Tudor and Dayon Pratt each recorded stops for lost yardage while Terry Williams batted down a pass.
After the scrimmage and an off day Sunday, the Pirates will open their third week of work Monday.
NOTES: Additional medical evaluations have determined that redshirt freshman OLB Drayvon Fairley will miss the remainder of spring drills because of a left injury suffered during Monday's practice ... Sophomore RB Chris Hairston will also sit out Saturday's scrimmage after injuring his left shoulder at the end of Wednesday's team period ... In addition to Fairley and Hairston, OL Chaz Lowery (left knee), DE Chrishon Rose (left shoulder), ILB Jeremy Grove (left shoulder) and DE Terrell Stanley (left knee) will also be sidelined for the game, while ILB Kyle Tudor (left shoulder) is listed as questionable ... Grove and Stanley are being kept out for precautionary reasons after being cleared to practice in a limited role earlier this week ... With Hairston's absence and the suspension of starter Vintavious Cooper, the Pirates' backfield will be thin Saturday - featuring walk-ons Cory Hunter, John Barnes-Smith and Marcus Simmons, along with lone returnee Zico Pasut.
EAST CAROLINA'S 2013 SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE
Next Workout: Saturday, April 6 (10:45 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.)
Remaining Workouts: April 8, April 10, April 12, April 13 (scrimmage), April 15, April 17 and April 20 (Purple-Gold Game, 2:30 p.m.)