GREENVILLE, N.C. - For the fourth consecutive day, warm and humid conditions greeted East Carolina at the Cliff Moore Practice Complex as head coach Ruffin McNeill guided his squad through a two-and-a-half-hour session in shells Monday morning.
Beginning Tuesday, the Pirates will enter another phase of preseason camp by wearing full pads for the first time and continue preparations for the camp's first of three scheduled two-a-day workouts Wednesday.
"We started out a little inconsistent, but I thought we finished with some good energy," McNeill said. "One of the things we're striving for is to have that energy each play and each series. We've had a very strenuous first three days with the conditioning that's been involved and the high tempo we're trying to create during practice. However, I like the way the guys finished today and the competition I saw out there."
Similar to Sunday's agenda, Monday's practice featured coverage skills, reads and ball security as points of emphasis for both the offense and defense. The final 25 minutes before the Pirates’ conditioning work was spent in a team-on-team segment that pitted the top three units on both sides of the ball against each other instead of scouts.
True to McNeill's preseason pledge of creating a deep running backs corps, Pirate rushers were actively rotated in and out during an up-tempo team period. Redshirt freshman Chris Hairston perhaps turned in the most notable highlight with a 47-yard touchdown run during the latter portion of the drill.
"As I've said before, I'd like to be in a position to use a plethora of running backs or have a running back by committee of sorts," McNeill added. "Lincoln (Riley, offensive coordinator) and his staff have already starting utilizing certain guys in certain ways, whether it's Reggie (Bullock) or Torrance (Hunt) or Hunter (Fur) or Michael (Dobson) on particular plays. Chris Hairston is another who has stepped up and we should have Vintavious Cooper in the next few days as well."
NOTES: DB Nate Mays (Huntersville, N.C./Hough HS) replaced freshman OLB Dayon Pratt (family commitment) on the 105-man roster Monday ... Pratt is expected to join the Pirates when the roster expands to 125 when classes start Aug. 21. ... Preseason two-deep members OT Grant Harner (left ankle), OLB Jake Geary (left leg), OWR Antonio Cannon (illness), OLB Maurice Falls (left leg) and TE/RB Zico Pasut (concussion) were held out of drills or experienced limited action Monday because of injuries or illness ... All are listed "day-to-day" by ECU's Sports Medicine staff ... Tuesday's Practice Time: 8:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.; Season Opener: Sept. 1 vs. Appalachian State in Greenville (12 noon).