GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina wrapped up the practice portion of its spring schedule in cool and breezy conditions Wednesday inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex, working for two-and-a-half hours under plenty of cloud cover and temperatures in the low-60s.
While the shorts and helmets session completed the Pirates' weekday workout slate, it also served as a final tune-up for the program's annual spring game scheduled for Saturday beginning at 2:00 p.m.
"I have been really pleased with the competitive spirit of the team this spring," ECU Head Coach Ruffin McNeill said. "I think the kids have really picked up the schemes on all three sides off the ball and their progress has been great. After Saturday, I will have a better idea of the overall grade I want to give this camp, but right now, I'd say it is at a high B or low A."
McNeill and his staff have spent the last few days trying to define their current positional charts to tentatively identify first, second and third units to help set up equal competition levels for Saturday's contest.
Because of facility limitations associated with on-going construction at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, this year's Purple-Gold Game will resemble more of an offense versus defense scrimmage similar to those played during the last two weeks. The 7,000-seat east endzone expansion project, currently on schedule to be completed in time for ECU's season opener against Tulsa Sept. 5, will force 50-yard, one-way possessions directed toward the Murphy Center without the usual game-day necessities of a game clock or scoreboard.
McNeill did indicate however that live hitting will be permitted in all positions, except quarterback and during kickoff, punting and return situations. In addition, the Pirates will attempt all extra-point and field goal tries.
"I am very anxious to see how we react with fans in the stands, even though it'll only be on one side of the stadium," McNeill explained. "It will be great to see the excitement of the Pirate Nation on Saturday. Afterwards, we will meet as a staff and really start to formulate a two-deep. We have guys that have stepped up and won positions but there are also those players that are still battling for the remaining spots, especially at quarterback, on the offensive line and at defensive end."
Tickets, which are priced at $5.00 for the contest or $10.00 with the addition of a plate of bar-b-cue from the Pigskin Pig-Out Party, can be purchased online at www.ECUPirates.com or by calling (252) 328-2300 locally or (800) DIAL-ECU outside the Greenville area.
NOTES: Junior TE Korey Reynolds was recently moved to the other side of the ball and will now compete at the defensive end position ... In addition to a handful of players who have sat out the entire or majority spring season with injuries, McNeill said a recent injury will force OL Dalton Faulds (knee) out of action for the Purple-Gold Game ... TE Kevin Gidrey and OL Doug Polochak missed Wednesday's workout because of an illness but are expected to play in the contest ... McNeill also announced that redshirt freshman receiver Justin Jones will miss Saturday's game and be excused from all football team-related activities for the rest of the spring semester to address academic responsibilities.
EAST CAROLINA'S 2010 SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE
Next/Last Workout: Saturday, April 17 (Purple-Gold Game, 2:00 p.m.)