Spring Football Notebook No. 13

UABSPORTS.COM Head coach Ruffin McNeill
Head coach Ruffin McNeill

April 9, 2012

 Practice Highlights and Interviews

GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina opened its fourth and final week of spring workouts under the direction of third-year head coach Ruffin McNeill and staff with a lively two-hour session Monday afternoon on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.

The Pirates returned to action in shells after conducting their second intra-squad scrimmage of the spring Saturday morning. After turning in its 13th practice, ECU has just one more workout scheduled - a mandated non-contact outing - before closing camp with the Purple-Gold Game Saturday.

McNeill added an extended video session to review Saturday's contest in position groups before heading out to the complex and beginning his on-the-field instruction. He remained satisfied with the progress of his squad as a whole after seeing the tape, but cited the fundamental approach and execution on the defensive side of the ball as perhaps one of the biggest positives produced by the scrimmage.

"I thought the defense did a great job playing 11-man football and executing the scheme," McNeill said. "I don't think there was any doubt that they got after the offense pretty well Saturday, but as the old phrase goes, it's never as good or bad as it seems. The offense did some really good things in the redzone, which I was pleased to see after a tough start."

After Wednesday's shorts and helmets-only practice, East Carolina's coaching staff will re-evaluate their roster and current injury list to determine a format that will be utilized for the Purple-Gold Game, which is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

"I am looking forward to the spring game and we will treat it as just another practice," McNeill said. "I hope to get some situational things done, but I will let the game flow as much as I can."

Tickets, which are priced at $5.00 for the contest or $10.00 with the addition of a plate of barbecue and soft drink from the Pigskin Pig-Out Party, can be purchased online at www.ECUPirates.com or by calling (252) 737-4500 locally or (800) DIAL-ECU outside the Greenville area.

NOTES: Pirate quarterbacks combined on a 16-of-27, 93-yard passing effort during the team phase of Monday's practice ... Junior Rio Johnson (8-of-16, 72 yards) had the longest play of the segment, connecting with sophomore IWR Justin Hardy on a 32-yarder with his second throw of the drill ... Redshirt freshman Cody Keith completed his first three and last four passes to finish with a seven-of-nine performance (21 yards) ... Junior running back Torrance Hunt recorded the longest rush of the day with a 16-yarder on his first carry ... ECU's defense continued its pressure with five tackles for lost yardage and sacks by junior DE Justin Dixon, senior DT Michael Brooks and junior OLB Derrell Johnson ... Redshirt freshman IWR Donte Sumpter (right knee) and junior RB Michael Dobson (right shoulder) returned to work Monday, but junior FS Damon Magazu continues to nurse a lower back injury and will be sidelined during the Purple-Gold Game.

Next Workout: Wednesday, April 11 (3:30-5:50 p.m.)
Remaining Workout: April 14 (Purple-Gold Game, 2:30 p.m.)