GREENVILLE, N.C. - Physical play and a strong emphasis on the Pirates'
rushing attack highlighted East Carolina's' first intra-squad scrimmage
of the spring practice period Friday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
The controlled contest, which featured game officials and was played in
near 80-degree temperatures, consisted of 12 10-play possessions and
closed with a series of goal line situations from the four-yard line.
"I thought today went pretty well, especially the way the weather
cooperated with us," head coach Skip Holtz said. "We ran about 135
plays, which was probably the most complete scrimmage we have had since
I have been here. In general terms, it was a good one but it also showed
that we are a very young team. One of our goals was for everyone to have
an opportunity to get in and see some action and I think we accomplished
Sophomores Rob Kass and Brett Clay, along with junior Patrick Pinkney
each took turns guiding the Pirates' offensive unit during the 10-play
series' which also included a total of 15 ball-carriers and 13
Senior tailback Chris Johnson, who spent the second half of the 2006
campaign lined up as a slot receiver, accounted for the game's only
touchdown, rushing for a scrimmage-long 27-yarder on his second attempt
of the contest while splitting time with junior Dominique Lindsay
working with the No. 1 offensive unit. Lindsay tallied a pair of 23-yard
rushes and was on the receiving end of a six-yard pass thrown by Kass.
Kass guided ECU's top offense to a total of 11 first downs and helped
convert six-of-10 third down situations. He also completed his first
four passes of the scrimmage, which included a personal-long 17-yard
strike to sophomore Jamar Bryant on his second attempt of the afternoon.
Pinkney recorded the longest completion of the day, connecting with
junior transfer Ricky Johnson on 23-yarder while Clay led all
quarterbacks in rushing with 20 yards on four carries.
"It is really hard to tell where you are as a team from a scrimmage like
this because if your defense does a great job, you question yourself
whether they are that good or if your offense that isn't so great,"
Holtz continued. "I know it was a very physical scrimmage, and
initially, I am pleased with the effort our running backs gave today."
The Pirates' defense forced three turnovers, which included fumble
recoveries by redshirt freshman cornerback Dekota Marshall and walk-on
freshman defensive back Spencer Hampton. In addition, senior cornerback
Travis Williams netted the contest's only interception when he stepped
in front of a Pinkney pass and returned it five yards.
"This was a personnel scrimmage as far as getting people in to see how
they perform in a position," Holtz added. "We will try to develop our
depth chart after watching the film and we'll spend the coming weeks
gearing towards working on the strengths and weaknesses of our team
East Carolina will open its fourth week of spring work Monday with a
shorts-only session beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Hight Field inside the
Cliff Moore Practice Complex.