ECU football sees practice competition ramp up through week one

“It’s the fine line early in shells where they are chomping to go”
ECU football sees practice competition ramp up through week one
Published: Aug. 5, 2023 at 1:05 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - ECU football has transitioned to wearing shells before going to full pads early next week at fall camp.

The players spoke for the first time this fall after practice, including one of the quarterbacks battling for the starter role.

“Mason (Garcia) has been really, really good the last two days. He’s all of a sudden he’s making checks pre-snap, he’s seeing things. I think the game has slowed down for him. Made a couple really nice plays today,” says ECU Head Football Coach Mike Houston, “Alex (Flinn) has such really good touch on the ball. He’s made some really nice throws. So I think they are both having a strong start.”

Head Coach Mike Houston has put the pressure on Mason Garcia to earn the starting job this fall camp.

“Just attack every day. It don’t matter what you are in. It don’t matter if you are 1, 2, or 3′s. Not title in that right now. Just go out there and compete your butt off,” says ECU quarterback Mason Garcia, “Do what you gotta do for the team. Everybody wants this team to be good. So, as long as you go out and do your thing, give your team the all, that’s all he is asking for.”

Garcia followed Holton Ahlers lead to the Manning Passing Academy this summer and feels it really helped him.

“Being able to learn the way you watch film, the way you carry yourself, and the way you carry yourself for this team,” says Garcia, “Having a bigger role on the team watching film.”

Because they are in shells, and not full pads, Coach Houston had to remind his aggressive defensive players to not take guys to the ground yet.

“A lot more competition. It’s the fine line early in shells where they are chomping to go,” says Houston, “You got to teach the young ones how to thud tackle, teach them what physical contact looks like without going to the ground, and then the old ones you got to hold them back a little bit.”

Julius Wood is one of those guys who can really bring it.

“Very frustrating playing football knowing that you can’t hit just yet,” says ECU defensive back Julius Wood, “It’s just learning how to practice in a college environment. You got to protect each other because we all a team.”

And he spoke about the defensive backs group which is full of new faces.

“With the way our team is with how they are so young, I see myself in their position,” says Wood, “I just want to leave them with tips and guidance, pointers and stuff like that just so they can have a heads up on things.”

The Pirates have a rest day on Sunday. They crank it up to full pads practices next week and plan to scrimmage next Saturday.