Pirates "Spirited" In Thursday Workout

GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina continued its spring football practice schedule Wednesday afternoon with another two-and-a-half hour workout in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts. The session, conducted inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex, was the Pirates' 10th overall and second-straight in shells.

Wednesday's practice, carried out in unseasonably warm temperatures, also initiated preparation efforts for ECU's second intra-squad scrimmage of the spring, which is scheduled for Saturday morning at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

"There was a lot of competitive spirit out there today," head coach Ruffin McNeill said. "I feel really good about what I saw from a focus and intensity standpoint. It was a true back-and-forth battle where the defense and offense each had the upper hand in different situations, which, in all honesty, is what I'm looking for."

McNeill, defensive coordinator Brian Mitchell and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley addressed the tempo on both sides of the ball, speeding things up during a 28-minute team-on-team segment that completed practice. In order to reach a pace where the Pirates' offensive attack can successfully operate within its new scheme, ECU employed a hurry-up mode to help with the ongoing transition.

"We're starting to get there and I remain pleased with the progress," McNeill explained. "One of the things missing from last Saturday's scrimmage was the tempo and we're addressing it. Brian and Lincoln both wanted to spend time with our hurry-up to see if we can get our guys more familiar with what it takes."

NOTES: McNeill and his staff will welcome approximately 50 high school coaches to the Ward Sports Medicine Building, Cliff Moore Practice Complex, Minges Coliseum and Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium beginning Thursday night for the annual three-day ECU Football Coaching Clinic ... In addition to a daily address by McNeill and selected break-out sessions, each Pirate coach will conduct presentations on their positional areas of responsibilities that will cover a variety of topics such as philosophies, drills, X's and O's, and fundamentals ... Those attending the clinic will also have the opportunity to watch practice Friday and observe Saturday's scrimmage ... Sophomore quarterback Josh Jordan picked up a blitz and hit senior running back Jonathan Williams with a screen pass that turned into a 51-yard touchdown reception during the 11-on-11 team period ... Redshirt freshman quarterback Rio Johnson found senior Dwayne Harris and junior Joe Womack for scoring tosses during the same segment ... Junior Ben Ryan connected on 48 and 43-yard field goals, while redshirt freshman Matt Millisor converted from 43 yards out midway through the team session ... Senior DT Josh Smith was back at work after missing over a week of work because of an upper leg injury.

Next Workout: Friday, April 9 (3:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.)
Remaining Workouts: April 10 (scrimmage), April 12, April 14 and April 17 (Purple-Gold Game, 2:00 p.m.)
Remaining General Public/Open Practice Date: April 14

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