Greenville - Redshirt freshman tailback Norman Whitley rushed for 233 yards and three touchdowns while junior quarterback Patrick Pinkney threw for three scores to highlight East Carolina's second full intra-squad scrimmage Friday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
Whitley, who picked up 73 yards on the first of his 18 carries, scored from seven, 53 and one yard out while splitting time on the Pirates No. 2 and 3 offensive units. Pickney, who finished the contest completing 12-of-16 passes for 96 yards, connected with Whitley, Davon Drew and Steven Rogers on nine, four and seven-yard scoring tosses, respectively.
In the opening half, each No. 1 unit faced off against the No. 2 squad across the line of scrimmage while the second period featured a more traditional matchup of equal levels of the depth chart.
"Well, scrimmage No. 2 is in the books, and at first-glance for a physical afternoon, I think we finished today relatively healthy," head coach Skip Holtz said. "We went 130-140 plays and I think we are getting to a point where we are running the ball better than we have in the past."
While the second and third offensive units accounted for seven of the game's eight touchdowns, the No. 1 defense surrended just one score during the game. After sophomore Brett Clay hooked up with sophomore Jamar Bryant on a 45-yard TD strike during the No. 2 unit's first possession, the top-rated defense bounced back to hold No. 2s scoreless during its remaining four series' of the first half before shutting out the No. 1 offense on all four of its second half possessions.
With sophomore Rob Kass engineering ECU's top unit, the offense opened the game with a long sustaining drive which was capped by a one-yard TD run by senior Chris Johnson. Clay and Pinkney both took turns guiding the No. 2 unit which scored on five of its 10 possessions. Combined, the Pirates finished the scrimmage with 746 yards of total offense on 140 plays - an average of 5.3 yards per snap.
"We can only get better from each practice and scrimmage," Holtz added. "We've been so geared toward team work lately, keying on down and distance awareness and situational plays."
In all, East Carolina completed 37-of-62 passes for 367 yards while suffering a pair of interceptions and contributed 379 rushing yards on 78 carries, an average of 4.9 yards per attempt.
Kass finished the contest completing 13-of-26 passes for 111 yards while Clay topped all quarterbacks with 140 yards on nine-of-14 passing, which included the TD strike to Bryant to open the action.
In addition to Whitley's game-high numbers, Johnson contributed 72 yards on 18 carries, junior Dominique Lindsay added 36 yards on 11 attempts and junior Brandon Simmons chipped in 35 yards on eight rushes. Bryant led all receivers with five catches for 78 yards while redshirt freshman Dwayne Harris netted 66 yards on four receptions. Drew, a junior tight end, logged a trio of grabs for 24 yards while converted wide receiver Michael Hickman also registered three catches for 24 yards.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Nick Johnson was credited with 10 stops while sophomore linebacker Lorenzo Osborne and redshirt freshman safety Melvin Patterson each tallied eight stops.
The Pirates' defense did enjoy several highlights, using a pair of interceptions to thwart possible scoring scoring drives. Junior walk-on defensive back Kurtis von Bargen picked off a Clay pass before sophomore linebacker Jeremy Chambliss stepped in front of a Kass attempt and returned it 22 yards. Chambliss, who also made five tackles, recorded the game's only fumble recovery and produced a sack.
"As a staff, we are starting to feel good about some things," Holtz concluded. "I can't say we're consistently playing well, but we're certainly making progress and have been very physical on both sides of the ball."
The Pirates will enter their fifth week of spring work with workouts Monday and Wednesday at the Cliff Moore Practice Complex before taking a long weekend off in observance of Good Friday and Easter.
RUSHING: Norman Whitley (18-233, 3 TD), Chris Johnson (18-72, 1 TD), Dominique Lindsay (11-36), Brandon Simmons (8-35), Justin Brockmeyer (2-25), Jon Castillo (1-20), Kevin Gidrey (3-9), Patrick Pinkney (2-8), Tobias Hilliard (1-5), Jason Simmons (2-2), Brett Clay (4-1), Taylor Mazzone (1-<-8>), Joseph Sloan (2-<-14>), Rob Kass (5-<-45>). Totals -- 78-379 (4.9 ypr), 4 TD.
PASSING: Brett Clay (14-9-1, 140 yards, 1 TD), Rob Kass (26-13-1, 111 yards), Patrick Pinkney (16-12-0, 96 yards, 3 TD), Taylor Mazzone (5-2-0, 13 yards), Joseph Sloan (1-1-0, 7 yards). Totals -- 62-37-2, 367 yards, 4 TD.
RECEIVING: Jamar Bryant (5-78, 1 TD), Dwayne Harris (4-66), Kyle Johnson (1-39), Davon Drew (3-24, 1 TD), Michael Hickman (3-24), Chris Johnson (3-23), Phillip Henry (2-18), Alex Taylor (2-17), Norman Whitley (2-13, 1 TD), J.R. Kraemer (1-13), Ricky Johnson (3-12), Steven Rogers (2-10, 1 TD), Dominique Lindsay (2-9), Ryan Weymann (1-7), Brandon Simmons (1-5), Wayne Hunter (1-5), Juwon Crowell (1-4). Totals -- 37-367, 4 TD
TACKLES: Nick Johnson (10, PB), Lorenzo Osborne (8), Melvin Patterson (8), Dalvon Mack (6), J.J. Milbrook (6), Jerek Hewett (5), Jeremy Chambliss (5, INT, FR, SACK), Kurtis von Bargen (4, INT), Van Eskridge (4, PB), Durwin Lamb (4), Dekota marshall (4), C.J. Wilson (4, 2 SACKS), Fred Wilson (4), Leon Best (3), Wendell Chavis (3, SACK), James Graham (3), Brock Haldeman (3), A.J. Johnson (3), Nweike Osemene (3), Travis Simmons (3, PB), Jarrett Wiggins (3), Marcus Hands (2), Chris Mattocks (2), Jay Ross (2), Chris Atkins (1, SACK), Kris Bell (1), Luke Danso (1), Spencer Hampton (1), Sean Nunally (1), Mark Robinson (1, BP), Scotty Robinson (1), Zach Slate (1, SACK), Willie Smith (1), Travis Williams (1)
TOTAL OFFENSE/DEFENSE: 140-746 (5.3 ypp); FIRST DOWNS: 36; THIRD-DOWN CONVERSIONS: 13/27; FUMBLES/LOST: 2/1; PENALTIES: 1 (1 offense, 0 defense)
SCORING: TDs (8) - Jamar Bryant 45-yard pass from Brett Clay, Chris Johnson 1-yard run, Norman Whitley 7-yard run, Norman Whitley 9-yard pass from Patrick Pinkney, Norman Whitley 53-yard run, Davon Drew 4-yard pass from Patrick Pinkney, Steven Rogers 7-yard pass from Patrick Pinkney, Norman Whitley 1-yard run. FGs - Ben Hartman 2-of-3 (32-good, 37-good, 37-missed); Charles Paderick 1-of-3 (32-good, 37-missed, 37-missed)