GREENVILLE, N.C. - After enjoying its first off-day of camp Tuesday, East Carolina returned to the Cliff Moore Practice Complex Wednesday morning in what head coach Ruffin McNeill termed a "crisp" two-hour workout in shells. The Pirates finished preparations for Thursday's final two-a-day schedule and continued progress toward Saturday’s second intra-squad scrimmage of camp.
After going through traditional individual drills at the beginning of the session, the offense spent periods against scouts working on screens, inside releases and one-on-one matchups between receivers and defensive backs. ECU also dedicated 20 minutes to special teams, while the final 28 minutes consisted of a team-on-team segment.
"We came out particularly crisp and ready to go today," McNeil said. "The execution by all three sides of the ball was outstanding. I also thought we did a lot of great work on special teams, the offense moved the ball up and down the field and the defense was very active and flying around the ball. I really liked our focus and approach today."
McNeill addressed his personnel at the receiver positions, a corps that returns two of four starters in senior outside receiver Andrew Bodenheimer and sophomore inside pass-catcher Justin Hardy. East Carolina opened camp with 17 receivers on its 105-man camp roster, but only seven have game experience and four have missed time with recent injuries.
"We are looking to find a top-eight at that position," McNeill explained. "That is normally the rule of thumb, especially in this offense. I am very proud and pleased with what I have seen out of that group during the preseason camp.
"I think Reese Wiggins is doing a great job at X and Jabril Solomon has done well catching the ball and running his routes. At the Z position, Andrew Bodenheimer and the rest of that group have had a strong camp. The Justins (Hardy and Jones) have stood out at the Y as well."
The Pirates will return to a single-practice schedule Friday after Thursday's twin sessions before playing its last scrimmage of camp Saturday morning.
NOTES: RB/TE Zico Pasut (concussion) and ILB Jeremy Grove returned to full-time status Wednesday after initially missing work and then only engaging in limited participation during the last four days ... IWR Donte Sumpter (right ankle) went back to sidelines one day after being cleared to play, while IWR Danny Webster (right leg), IWR Quataye Smyre (left leg) and DE Justin Dixon (left shoulder) also sat out Wednesday's practice ... Walk-on OLB Darian Harris, who had a unit-leading five stops during last Saturday's scrimmage, will miss the remainder of camp with a concussion ... The Pirates' closed-to-the-public scrimmage Saturday precedes the 18th Annual Meet The Pirates Night, ECU's preseason football fan fest, which will begin at 5:00 p.m. ... Thursday's Practice Times: 8:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. & 4:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.; Season Opener: Sept. 1 vs. Appalachian State in Greenville (12 noon).