East Carolina continued preparations for its second intra-squad scrimmage of preseason camp with a two-hour practice in shells Thursday night on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.
After a light polish session Friday evening, the Pirates will head over to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday afternoon to engage in perhaps their most important internal test of the young season which will determine the preseason depth chart heading into game-plan mode for the season opener at Virginia Tech.
Head coach Skip Holtz announced that Saturday's scrimmage, will be open to the public beginning with a pre-game stretch at 2:00 p.m. before following with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff. Following the simulated contest, fans are encouraged to remain for the 13th Annual Meet The Pirates Night, ECU's preseason football fanfest, which will begin at 5:30 p.m.
In contrast to Wednesday's practice, East Carolina focused heavily on individual work for the majority of the night before wrapping up drills by conducting a non-contact team-on-team session and traditional pass skeleton ball movement. After running through their kick and punt return assignments early during the workout, the Pirates closed out special teams play and the overall workout with field goal repetitions.
"It was certainly spirited tonight," Holtz said. "I think we hit a home run with the cool nights. We pulled back to lighten things before the scrimmage, working with a combination of 'thud' and 'whiz' out there. While we didn't want anyone on the ground, it didn't seem to affect the intensity and enthusiasm that we played with tonight.
"We still have a long way to go however," Holtz continued. "There's no doubt, at this point, that this team's bread is buttered by the defense but we're making progress on the offensive side of the ball as well. Our quarterbacks are starting to eliminate mistakes and I see them getting better and better each day."
Only 15 days remain before East Carolina's opener against the Hokies in Blacksburg, Va.
NOTES: Sophomore PK Ben Hartman's 57-yard field goal ended Thursday's session on a positive note ... Holtz felt confident that linebackers Quentin Cotton and Nick Johnson, both on the sidelines after suffering shoulder injuries earlier in camp, could return to practice as early as Monday or Tuesday ... The Pirates will take just their second day off Sunday after the scrimmage before conducting its final two-a-day schedule of camp Monday morning and evening ... Players are also eyeing the end of camp which is scheduled after Tuesday's workout ... Classes on the ECU campus begin Wednesday morning ... Friday's Practice Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.; Season Opener: Sept. 1 at Virginia Tech (12 noon)