Pirates Gearing Up For First Scrimmage

GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina finalized preparations for its first intra-squad scrimmage of preseason camp with a two-hour practice in shorts and helmets in rain-cooled and breezy conditions Friday evening on Hight Field at the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.

The contest, which will be held at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday afternoon, will place a special emphasis on the newcomers in the program, lower levels of the preseason depth chart and special teams play. The scrimmage will also serve as the first game-condition evaluation opportunity of the season for head coach Skip Holtz and staff.

As a precautionary measure to ensure freshness for the game, Holtz held the Pirates to minimal contact during Friday's session which primarily stressed 11-on-11 team work. He also covered aspects of the kicking game, down-and-distance before closing the practice with a two-minute drill.

"We're looking forward to taking our first test, especially to see where we are with the younger guys." Holtz said. "It's certainly an opportunity to get a lot of tape and start making some decisions. Obviously, we'd like to be in a position to establish our first in-season two-deep, define our repetitions at different positions and move forward. Although today was a 'whiz' (no-physical) day, I felt like we were able to get a lot of work in on what was maybe our coolest and most comfortable day of camp thus far."

Holtz indicated that the Pirates would open Saturday's work in a traditional practice format during the first half before engaging in full scrimmage mode during the second half.

NOTES: Junior LB Quentin Cotton (shoulder), junior DE Marcus Hands (concussion), junior DT Khalif Mitchell (knee), redshirt-freshman Doug Polochak (shoulder) and sophomore DE Scotty Robinson (knee) will not play in Saturday's simulated contest ... Polochak, who spent his redshirt season recovering from shoulder surgery, aggravated the same area during Thursday's workout ... Junior Brandon Setzer, who enjoyed stellar seasons in 2005 and 2006 as a part-time starter on the defensive line, was moved back to the offensive front after opening camp listed as Mark Robinson's top backup at defensive tackle on the preseason depth chart ... Setzer spent the spring practice period on offense but was switched back to the other side of the ball at the close of drills ... Sophomore strong safety Chris Mattocks joined the list of other players who will switch loyalties to a new uniform number this season, moving from No. 38 to No. 19 ... After Saturday's scrimmage, the Pirates will enjoy their first non-practice day since opening camp August 3 but will still conduct meetings and a lifting session Sunday ... Saturday's Scrimmage Time: 3:30 p.m. - 5:50 p.m.; Season Opener: Sept. 1 vs. Virginia Tech (12 noon)