Head coach Skip Holtz officially closed out his third fall camp at East Carolina as the Pirates wrapped up the NCAA-recognized 20-day preseason period with a physical two-and-a-half-hour, full-pad workout in near 100-degree temperatures Tuesday afternoon on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.
With the start of classes Wednesday, ECU will return to its in-season schedule which regularly will include daily 4:00 p.m. practices Tuesday through Thursday with an off day each Monday.
"I think everyone is excited that camp is finally over," Holtz said. "The guys came out and practiced hard in the blistering heat. We wanted to get them acclimated since we will consistently start practicing in the afternoons.
"I have been real pleased with the team's attitude the last two and a half weeks," Holtz added. "We have made some big strides, but still have a lot left to do before the Virginia Tech game in 11 short days. We are much better on both sides of the ball now than when we started camp, but there are still many unknowns. As a coach, you always feel antsy about your team until the first game is played."
The Pirates will now focus their attention toward the final scrimmage of the preseason, set for Friday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. After an off-day Saturday, East Carolina will begin its game-week schedule in earnest with a Sunday night workout in helmets and shorts beginning at 8:30 p.m.
“Friday's scrimmage will be much more like a game," Holtz explained. "We will put our ones on one side and everyone else on the other. We have to get comfortable with our pregame routine (warmup, stretch).and start getting used to substitutions. Friday is our dress rehearsal for Virginia Tech and we want our younger players to understand exactly what is happening. It will definitely have the tempo of a game.”
Holtz indicated that Friday's contest will afford him and his staff one last opportunity to evaluate personnel on both sides of the ball before releasing his first official game-week depth chart.
NOTES: The Pirates will conduct walk-on tryouts at the conclusion of Thursday's practice ... ECU's matchup against Virginia Tech will open a nine-game series between the two programs ... The Pirates and Hokies will also open up the 2008 campaign by meeting in Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium on August 30 ... Virginia Tech will visit Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in 2009 before the two teams play at alternating sites for the remaining six contests ... Season Opener: Sept. 1 at Virginia Tech (12 noon).