GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina finalized preparations for its first intra-squad scrimmage of preseason camp with a two-hour workout in shells Friday morning on Hight Field at the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.
Under clear and sunny skies, fifth-year head coach Ruffin McNeill kept the Pirates out of full pads to minimize contact during Friday’s session, which mostly stressed all phases of special teams, individual drills and concluded with 22 minutes of team-on-team during two of the final four periods.
“We put a little more emphasis on special teams Friday since we will not be working on that aspect of the game before Saturday’s scrimmage,” McNeill said. “I thought it was a feisty practice and I like that from our guys. We had the conference officials with us on the field monitoring our practice and they will be with us again during the scrimmage. The goal is to get our players used to having them around and its also a chance for the officials to see how we play in our up-tempo offense, so both sides can feel comfortable with one another.”
Saturday’s scrimmage, which will be held at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in the morning and closed to the public, will primarily serve as a personnel and organizational contest designed to start formulating the program’s first depth chart of the season, emphasize new officiating rules and work on substitution patterns.
“On the field, I’m looking for execution and fundamentals,” McNeill added. “That has been a big emphasis in camp with regard to footwork and technique. I also want to see the execution of our offense with guys making routine plays and doing their exact job. Off the field, we are looking at sideline discipline or sideline control, which is something the NCAA has stressed this year. We will also work on phone communication from upstairs in the coaches box to give us a real game-time feel.”
A total of eight members of the Pirates’ original 105-man preseason camp roster will be sidelined during the first scrimmage because of injuries … Three players, OWR Daquan Barnes (back), IWR Jonathan Stanley (left lower leg) and NT Terry Williams (left knee), are out for the remainder of camp, while OLB Maurice Falls (left leg), DL D’Hadree Hooker (concussion), IWR Quay Johnson (concussion), OL Quincy McKinney (concussion) and OLB Montese Overton (left knee) are expected to rejoin their respective units next week … McNeill also announced Friday that DL Terry Biles (6-2, 278, Sr., High Point, N.C.) was added to the preseason roster to fill the void left by Williams’ temporary departure … Following the scrimmage, East Carolina’s coaches and players will participate in the 20th Annual Meet the Pirates event inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium from 5-8 p.m.
Saturday's Scrimmage: 8:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Season Opener: Aug. 30 vs. North Carolina Central (8 p.m. EST)