GREENVILLE, N.C. – Shane Carden connected with Justin Hardy on a pair of scoring plays to lead the offense, while DaShawn Benton’s 15-yard interception return complemented a four-sack defensive effort during East Carolina’s first intra-squad scrimmage of preseason camp Saturday morning at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
The controlled scrimmage, which was played under mostly clear skies with temperatures in the upper-80’s, consisted of approximately 50 plays that included all levels of the program’s positional charts.
“We got a lot of guys reps, which was the main purpose outside of staying injury free,” said fifth-year head coach Ruffin McNeill. “A stadium look was the biggest thing and I wanted to get the guys on the field in a game-like atmosphere and see them execute on both the offense and defensive side of the ball.
“Within the lines, I was looking for execution of the offense, substitutions on both sides of the ball and addressing penalties. I wanted to make sure we were playing smart penalty-wise, and today we did that for the most part. When I talk about penalties, I break those into three sets - administrative, technique and selfish penalties, which we did not have. There are some technique things we have to work on, but I was pleased with what I saw between the lines. Off the field, we were able to work on sideline discipline, execution from the coaches box to the field, my communication to the coaches and vice-versa, and finally, sideline organization.”
Carden, who completed all 12 of his passes for 158 yards, marched the offense down the field on the Pirates’ opening drive before finding Hardy on the front end of a 13-yard scoring play and cap a 70-yard drive. The duo hooked up again on the next series, which was capped with a seven-yard strike to the nearside pylon of the endzone. Warren Harvey connected on both PATs to complete the scoring drives.
Leading the fourth unit, Jonathon Weymann was 3-of-5 for 55 yards and engineered a scoring drive that culminated in Davis Plowman’s 20-yard field goal. Kurt Benkert was 3-of-8 for 40 yards with an interception guiding the second squad, while Blake Kemp was 2-for-5 for 10 yards heading the third group.
Hardy led all pass catchers with five receptions for 52 yards and the pair of TDs. Cam Worthy hauled down four balls for a team-best 60 yards, while Brandon Bishop (25 yards) and Malik Gray (11) each added a pair of receptions. Despite having just one catch during the morning, Davon Grayson (39) and Jacen Murphy (34) each contributed big single plays.
Anthony Scott led the ground game, picking up 48 of ECU’s 64 yards on four rushes. Marquez Grayson added 20 yards on four attempts, while Chris Love (nine yards) and Breon Allen (six) also touched the ball.
Josh Hawkins, Fred Presley and Ray Tillman topped all defenders with four tackles, while Mike Myers tallied three stops. Yiannis Bowden (two tackles), Demetri McGill (two) and Chrishon Rose (two) each joined Presley with sacks in the contest.
“I saw a lot of positive things, but we still have some work to do,” McNeill added. “All that we as coaches can ask from each player after the scrimmage is to keep getting better as a team. How we get better is making sure everyone works on their individual skills, their craft and doing their job. With Shane, the line did a good job protecting him on offense. Defensively, the same applies with the unit working as one. We want to be one heartbeat when we are out there on the field, and I thought we did a great job of that.”
Although it averaged 6.8 yards per play during the officiated scrimmage, the Pirate offense was also knocked back four times on penalties (holding, false start, block in the back and facemask).
Following film evaluation of the scrimmage Saturday afternoon and an off day Sunday, East Carolina will return to Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex Monday at 8:45 a.m. for its 14th workout of the fall.
FALL NO. 1 SCRIMMAGE STATS
RUSHING: Anthony Scott (4-48), Marquez Grayson (4-20), Chris Love (4-9), Breon Allen (1-6), Kurt Benkert (2-<-1>), Blake Kemp (1-<-8>), Shane Carden (2-<-10>). Totals –– 18-64 (3.6 ypr).
PASSING: Shane Carden (12-12-0, 158 yards, 2 TD), Jonathon Weymann (5-3-0, 55 yards), Kurt Benkert (8-3-1, 40 yards), Blake Kemp (5-2-0, 10 yards). Totals –– 30-20-1, 263 yards, 2 TD (66.7%).
RECEIVING: Justin Hardy (5-52, 2 TD), Cam Worthy (4-60), Davon Grayson (1-39), Jacen Murphy (1-34), Brandon Bishop (2-25), Malik Gray (2-11), Marquez Grayson (1-25), Beau Huffman (1-7), Jimmy Williams (1-4), Chris Hairston (1-3), Anthony Scott (1-3). Totals –– 20-263, 2 TD
TACKLES: Josh Hawkins 4, Fred Presley 4 (sack/-5 yards, TFL/-5 yards), Ray Tillman 4, Mike Myers 3, Detric Allen 2, Randall Anderson 2, Demage Bailey 2, Yiannis Bowden 2 (sack/-8 yards, TFL/-8 yards), Devaris Brunson 2, Pat Green 2 (QBH), Lamar Ivey 2, Demetri McGill 2 (sack/-3 yards, TFL/-3 yards), Dayon Pratt 2, Cody Purdie 2, Chrishon Rose 2 (sack/-5 yards, TFL/-5 yards), Travon Simmons 2, Joe Allely 1, DaShawn Benton 1 (INT/15 yards), Bobby Fulp 1, Jake Geary 1, Trevian Hicks 1, Domonique Lennon 1, Nate Mays 1, Terrell Richardson 1, Rocco Scarfone 1, Reece Speight 1, Johnathon White 1, Brandon Williams 1.
TOTAL OFFENSE/TOTAL DEFENSE: 48-327 (6.8 ypp)
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS: 5-9 (55.6%) – Kurt Benkert (2-3), Shane Carden (1-1), Jonathon Weymann (1-2, Blake Kemp (1-3)
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS (when attempted): 0-0
PENALTIES: 7 (4/OFFENSE – 1 holding, 1 false start, 1 block in back, 1 facemask; 3/DEFENSE – 2 offside, 1 facemask)
QUARTERBACK FIRST DOWN/SCORING CHART (DRIVES)
Shane Carden – 6 first downs, 2 TD (TD, TD)
Kurt Benkert – 6 first downs (interception, missed field goal)
Jonathon Weymann – 2 first downs, 1 FG (FG)
Blake Kemp – 1 first down (downs, downs)
SCORING: TDs – 2 (PATs 2-2), FGs – 1
Justin Hardy 13-yard pass from Shane Carden (Warren Harvey PAT)
Justin Hardy 7-yard pass from Shane Carden (Warren Harvey PAT)
Davis Plowman 20-yard field goal