Pirates Face Heat In 13th Practice

East Carolina University

After a late-night session in full pads Monday, East Carolina Head Coach Skip Holtz and staff lessened the gear but emphasized a heavy dose of team work during a two-hour, shells-only practice on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex Tuesday afternoon.

The Pirates completed their 13th practice of preseason camp, and in addition, began preparations in earnest for Saturday's pivotal intra-squad scrimmage.

"Unfortunately, this was not one of our better ones," Holtz said. "We've got a number of little injuries and we've hit the dogdays so to speak where the excitement of the newness of camp has worn off. Yet, with that said, this is also the time where you can learn the most about your team and individuals, and who can deal with some adversity."

Holtz continued to stress team-on-team work and spent the majority of Tuesday's session keying on situational drills such as down-and-distance and redzone efficiency.

After evaluating Saturday's scrimmage on tape and making additional personnel adjustments, Holtz and his staff will look forward to implementing a game plan for Virginia Tech early next week.

"Unlike last week, this weekend's scrimmage will be a lot more game-like," Holtz continued. "The ones and twos will be the focal point as we need to develop an in-season or even a game-week two-deep that we'll head into our opener with. At this point, we still have positional battles in place where I can't justify putting someone ahead of another without more or even direct competition - something the ones and twos didn't get last Saturday. I expect we'll get a lot of answers after this weekend."

NOTES: Because of dangerous high temperatures and triple-digit heat indices forecast for the remainder of the week, Holtz announced that the Pirates have moved back their practices for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to the early evening hours ... Holtz also announced that junior linebacker Dalvon Mack, who transferred into the program prior to spring drills in 2006 and had worked his way up to a preseason depth chart position this summer, left the program for personal reasons Tuesday morning ... Mack opened camp as Pierre Bell's top backup at one of the outside linebacking positions ... Junior DL Marcus Hands returned to action Tuesday after missing nearly a week of work because of concussion-related symptoms ... While Hands' return was good news, ECU went without junior cornerback Jerek Hewett Tuesday because of similar concerns (concussion) ... At the conclusion of Tuesday's workout, all players participated in a media training session conducted by Trone Public Relations, which provided a hands-on lesson to help the Pirates gain an understanding of success in the public eye and promote a positive image ... In addition to ECU, media expert Scott Pryzwansky also works with North Carolina, Auburn and Hendrick Motor Sports to name a few of his regional clients ... Wednesday's Practice Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:40 p.m.; Season Opener: Sept. 1 at Virginia Tech (12 noon)