ECU football opens fall training camp determined to prove themselves

“We’ve got a bunch of dudes in this room”
ECU football opens fall training camp determined to prove themselves
Published: Aug. 2, 2023 at 6:30 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - ECU football season is here! The Pirates opening fall camp Wednesday morning in Greenville. Lots of new faces and ECU has been pretty disrespected in the preseason polls and awards.

The chip is on their shoulders. They were ready to work.

“We’ve got a bunch of dudes in this room just a lot of people outside this building don’t know they are dudes yet,” says ECU Head Football Coach Mike Houston.

Position battles will be all over the line up for the Pirates this preseason as they try to figure out who those aforementioned dudes are.

“The days of us having to play four guys on the D-line are over. We are going to play multiple guys at defensive back, multiple guys at linebacker, we’re going to play multiple running backs. receiving core,” says Houston, “I might not know who the guy-guy is yet, but I know we got several guys. I thought we had several of those guys stand out today so I think we got a lot of competition and we are going to be able to play a lot of guys. I think that it is good for everybody.”

The most notable position battle in fall camp is at quarterback. For the first time in years, Holton Ahlers won’t be the starter. Mason Garcia has been his back-up.

“Mason looked as good today as he has since he has been here,” says Houston, “He looked like a veteran guy who is ready to play.”

Alex Flinn’s play has made it a competition though.

“I think he’s become a lot more confident, a lot more assertive, so he has really improved dramatically,” Houston said.

One spot with a major returner is running back, Rahjai Harris.

“He’s fully cleared. He has no restrictions,” says Houston, “Not going to be hesitant with him for preseason camp. He is an experienced back. By the time we make that trip September, 2nd. I want him to be fully confident and fully ready to go so he can be Rahjai Harris.”

Harris looked like himself out there except for the precautionary knee brace. He had ACL surgery during last season and is fully ready to rock.

“From the neck down he is full go. It’s been 8 months. First day of contact I told him you are going to need run somebody over and pop up, you are going to have to juke somebody and get tackled and pop up the next play,” says Houston, “That’s anybody that has had that injury they have to go through that but he will. He’ll handle it just fine. He looked very good today.”

Coach Houston said he had to have some stuff taken off his nose if you are wondering about the band aid.

The Pirates practice in helmets Thursday and shells on Friday and Saturday.