Head coach Skip Holtz and his East Carolina football program resumed its spring practice schedule Monday afternoon after enjoying a 10-day Spring Break layoff. The two-hour workout, conducted on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex, was the Pirates' fifth overall and third in full pads.
"It was good to get back to work after the break," Holtz said. "I thought we were pretty sharp considering the layoff. The intensity and spirit remains and we competed in a physical and hard-nosed manner, which is what we're all looking for. The experience will come for the younger players and the work and polish will come for the upperclassmen, especially if we continue to have productive days."
East Carolina worked through various team sessions towards the end of the practice period, which included a 10-minute "live" first-and-10, three-play scrimmage phase that involved all levels of the program's current personnel. The Pirates closed the workout with their traditional and popular "three-on-three" drill that featured matchups between tight ends, offensive and defensive lines, wide receivers and defensive backs, running backs and linebackers at point-blank range on a shortened field.
Holtz and staff also began work in earnest Monday toward the establishment of the program's initial depth chart of the season after spending the first two weeks of camp primarily emphasizing fundamental individual drill work. The two-deep, which will be released after next Friday's (March 28) scrimmage, will allow the Pirates to fine-tune efforts in their respective offensive and defensive packages with the first and second units experiencing the majority of the action during the last two weeks of workouts.
The Pirates will return to work Wednesday beginning at 4:00 p.m. before taking the long weekend off in observance of Good Friday and the Easter Holidays.
NOTES: For the second time in less than two weeks, the ECU program welcomed scouts and any position coaches from over 24 different National Football League organizations to its practice facility - this time to engage in a closed individual testing session with former tight end Jay Sonnhalter, offensive lineman Josh Coffman and running back Chris Johnson, who has been projected as a possible first-day pick by many draft publication and television experts ...Johnson, who did not make the trip to Greenville on March 5 to participate in the program's annual senior pro-timing day session because of an earlier commitment, returned to the East Carolina campus and was tested in the vertical leap, bench press, cone/shuttle runs and positional drills by NFL personnel, which included Carolina Panthers' Head Coach John Fox ... Holtz also announced Monday that senior walk-on linebacker and special teams' stalwart Juan Quintanilla will meet graduation requirements prior the start of the fall season and has already obtained employment in his career choice, thus foregoing his last year of eligibility ... A member of the Pirates' "Dirty Dozen" special teams squad, Quintanilla finished fourth on the unit with six stops in 2007.