GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina officially completed preparations for the program's first intra-squad scrimmage of the season with a shells-only workout on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex Friday.
The session was ECU's sixth of the spring period and leaves just nine more workouts to go, including a pair of scrimmages, the annual Purple-Gold Spring Game set for April 16 and an added practice April 18 to replace Wednesday's weather-related postponement.
Originally planned as a full-pad workout, second-year head coach Ruffin McNeill opted for a return to limited equipment as a precautionary measure to ensure freshness and give injuries an additional day to heal for Saturday's contest.
McNeill indicated the scrimmage would be scripted for 100 plays with inclusion of all levels of the Pirates' current personnel 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 Brian Mitchell (defense) and Lincoln Riley (offense), and other coaches.
"We're looking forward to getting the game reps in," McNeill said. "The emphasis and focus will remain on things we've talked about all spring - playing fundamentally sound, smart and not beating ourselves, taking care of the football on offense and getting the football on defense, and compete as hard as possible from start to finish."
Despite the lack of full gear and limited contact, East Carolina spent time Friday keying on screens, blitz delivery and pickup, one-on-one receiver-secondary matchups, pass skeleton, team-on-team and special teams work.
During the Pirates' 11-on-11 team session, where emphasis was placed on third-and-short and third-and-long production, senior quarterback Dominique Davis connected with sophomore receiver Mike Price on a 42-yard pass play to open the segment. Sophomore running back Torrance Hunt scored on a four-yard run and junior cornerback Jacobi Jenkins netted an interception in the endzone to highlight the offensive and defensive units, respectively.
"I really like the improvement and effort I've seen to this point," McNeill added. "We had fresh legs out there today after taking Wednesday off and there seemed to be a lot of energy, good energy."
After the completion of Saturday's scrimmage, which is closed to the public, ECU will take Sunday off before opening its third week of work Monday, April 4.
NOTES: McNeill announced Friday that redshirt freshman center Mack Helms, who suffered a left shoulder injury midway through Monday's practice, will be lost for any contact work the remainder of the spring ... Already missing 2010 starter Dalton Faulds because of a right shoulder injury, the Pirates will use senior Hugh Parker and redshirt freshman Drew Gentry at the position for the rest of drills ... McNeill also said junior outside linebacker Marke Powell and Price will be on excused bereavement leave Saturday and will miss the scrimmage as well ... Coaches representing 60 different high school programs arrived on campus Thursday night to participate in ECU's three-day coaching clinic, which feature offensive, defensive and strength/speed presentations by all members of the Pirate staff, including Assistant AD for Strength and Conditioning Jeff Connors ... In addition to observing Friday's practice, the high school coaches will also be in attendance during Saturday's contest.
EAST CAROLINA'S 2011 SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE
Next Workout: Saturday, April 2 (10:15-11:45 a.m.)
Remaining Workouts: April 4, April 6, April 8, April 9 (scrimmage), April 11, April 13, April 16 (Purple-Gold Game, 2:30 p.m.) and April 18