East Carolina Head Football Coach Skip Holtz and his Pirates officially passed the midway point of the spring practice period Wednesday afternoon, conducting a two-hour workout in full pads on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex that also capped preparations for the program's first intra-squad scrimmage scheduled for Friday.
The session was the Pirates' eighth practice of the spring period and leaves just seven more workouts to go, including two scrimmages and the annual Purple-Gold Spring Game set for April 12.
"The effort and enthusiasm level was much higher today," Holtz said. "I was proud to see everyone bounce back after struggling on Monday. I think we're a little further along (progress) than we normally would be but that's really a result of the number of returners and the amount of experience we have with us this spring. We haven't been in this position since we've been here."
East Carolina continued to sharpen its team preparation for Friday's contest, working on various sets and schemes with different roster matchup designations. For the second straight practice, the Pirates primarily conducted a heavy dose of team-on-team work, carrying out many 11-on-11 drills which featured different variables in ECU's rushing and passing attack before ending the session with various situational, down-and-distance and two-minute segments.
Holtz indicated that the scrimmage, scripted for over 100 snaps, would consist of a series of numbered-play possessions for each unit and conclude with a set of goal line drills. All levels of the Pirates' current personnel chart is expected to experience action for evaluation and game-tape purposes.
"We'll regulate it (scrimmage) to ensure everyone gets an equal look so we'll have an opportunity to come out of it with a two-deep," Holtz added. "It will be another physical test day of sorts to see how far we are mentally and fundamentally with coaches on the sideline. We'll play it like a game to hopefully get them familiar with certain situations."
After the completion of Friday's scrimmage, which is closed to the public, ECU will take the weekend off before opening its fifth week of work Monday, March 31.
NOTES: There will be two players who are expected to miss Friday's intra-squad contest because of injuries - DT Linval Joseph (back/out indefinitely) and LB Dalvon Mack (hand/out indefinitely) ... In addition, four players are listed as questionable for the scrimmage - QB Brett Clay (lower leg), OL T.J. Harper (shoulder), CB Jerek Hewett (upper leg) and DT Brandon Setzer (concussion).