The Pirate defense held the offense to only three yards per rush while senior Patrick Pinkney completed 12-of-21 passes for 182 yards and sophomore T.J. Terrell hauled down seven catches for 114 yards to highlight East Carolina’s first intra-squad scrimmage of preseason camp Saturday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
The controlled contest, which was played in pleasant conditions under partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-80s, consisted of approximately 90 plays featuring all levels of the program's preseason depth chart.
“Today we were just trying to come out here and evaluate personnel,” said head coach Skip Holtz. “We have a lot of guys who redshirted last year and I think there’s an awful lot of competition - some with the starters and backups. Yet, I believe the biggest competition is between the second and third units. We’re trying to decide who’s going to make up the travel list, the kicking game, and those types of things.
“We gave our returners, our ‘ones’ so to speak, only about 15-20 plays,” Holtz continued. “It’s kind of like the first preseason game. You want to give them a little work, get them some contact and knock a little bit of the rust off. We’ll come back next week and it’ll be much more of an offense-defense oriented practice.”
Although sophomores Norman Whitley (7-66) and Jonathan Williams (8-41) combined for 107 rushing yards and scored the game's only two touchdowns on 27 and seven-yard runs, respectively, three Pirate defensive units limited the offense to just 175 ground yards on 51 carries. Excluding Whitley and Williams, ECU surrendered just 68 yards on 36 attempts - an average of 1.9 yards per run.
Junior Rob Kass guided the second unit and completed 10-of-17 passes for 92 yards with an interception while fellow signal-callers Josh Jordan (3-3-0, 26 yards) and Taylor Mazzone (1-1-0, 8 yards) each worked with the third offensive unit.
In first-half action, the defense held the offensive units to a pair of field goals. Freshman Ben Ryan connected on a 33-yarder to open the scoring before he and junior Matt Dodge split the uprights from 44 yards out. In all, Ryan was 3-for-3 on his attempts (33, 43, 44) while Dodge was 1-for-3.
Freshman Cliff Perryman led a defensive effort with seven stops, while Dustin Lineback and Darryl Reynolds recorded six tackles each. Reynolds also recorded a pass theft in the second half and Perryman recovered a fumble to account for the defensive units' two take-aways. Lineback, along with redshirt freshman Antonio Allison (two tackles) and junior Scotty Robinson (two tackles), each notched sacks during the contest.
ECU capped off the scrimmage pitting the first, second and third-team units against one another in goal-line situations, where the offensive units scored on four of the five possessions. Senior Jason Simmons caught a five-yard pass from Kass and junior J.R. Rogers scored from one-yard out for the second-team. Pinkney hooked up with junior Alex Taylor on a two-yard fade route for a score and Williams scored from three-yards out for the first-teamers.
The Pirates will take a day off from the field Sunday before returning to Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex Monday for their second two-a-day schedule of camp. ECU will conduct the pair of workouts beginning at 8:30 a.m. and 8:05 p.m.