GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina conducted its first intra-squad scrimmage of preseason camp Saturday morning inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium with all levels of the offense, defense and special teams in a controlled scrimmage under hot and humid summer conditions.
The scrimmage is the first of two for the Pirates under fifth-year head coach Mike Houston before the group turns their focus to the season opener on Sept. 2 against Michigan in Ann Arbor. ECU is scheduled to return to practice Monday, Aug. 14, to kickstart their last week of fall camp before classes start Aug. 21.
Coach Houston Opening Comments:
“All right, heck of a first scrimmage now. The heat decided to come out this morning. It’s probably the warmest practice we’ve had during preseason camp, so it was pretty steamy out there on the field. I think it’s great. We’ve still got three weeks until kickoff. But obviously we’ve got to get acclimated to some heat. I think that really put some pressure on us from the standpoint of being able to handle it. That’s always a huge challenge in these early-season preseason scrimmages. Lots of positives came out of that to be better prepared for the next hot day we have. So I thought a lot of good things on both sides of the football. Lots of things we have to clean up. Typical first scrimmage. But I think there’s going to be a lot to learn and grow from.”
On The Running Game And Turnovers:
“You can’t turn the ball over. That’s obvious. I thought we did some good things in the run game all day long. We had some big plays early in the scrimmage also. That room is pretty strong. At the same time, we’ve got to do a great job taking care of the football.”
On The Defense Forcing Turnovers:
“I think our defense has a lot of guys back on that side and we’re playing very, very aggressive right now. Which is how we want to play. Now we have to look at some of the big plays we gave up and see why those occurred, and get those fixed.”
On The Kicking Game:
“Well, we didn’t miss a field goal or an extra point. We converted all those. We didn’t really have a ton of pressure. We had a little bit off the edge, but that’s what we’re used to having. I thought we punted the ball pretty well all day. We put them punting off the half-yard line, the one-yard line. So I want to look at the film as far as our return units. But I thought our coverage units were very solid.”
On Game Situations:
“We got in about every situation that we’re going to have, other than two-minute and overtime. We didn’t get into those two today, but we got everything else. So, it was good. We had a 99-yard drive by our offense coming off the 1-yard line. That’s a positive. Now you don’t want to have a 99-yard drive defensively. That’s the thing about scrimmages. When you do something real well on one side, you wonder why it occurred on the other side kind of deal. But we had some sudden change there at the end with some turnovers in the red zone. So your defense is put in a bad situation. But we’re going to be in those situations throughout the year right there where you’re going to have to get a stop or force a field goal, and see if we can get off without any points. I thought it was great to be in those situations. The coaches are up in the box. The kids are kind of out there on their own kind of deal. They have to get used to that.”
Junior Teagan Wilk’s Comments:
“It was good on both sides today. Obviously, you have big plays here and there. I think the defense really stayed strong through the middle areas of the game, but we were really bad in the redzone today. But our offense handled everything really well today, the tempo was really good, our running backs ran hard, the receivers were catching balls, so overall I thought it was a pretty good day.”
Wilk On His Interception:
“I was just reading the quarterbacks eyes. I had a lot of help from Jordan Huff on the outside and he is actually the reason I was able to make that play.”
Junior Shane Calhoun’s Comments:
“I think we need to clean up some things. Offensively, I think we started of fine and had some good opportunities with the football and as the game went on, it got a little sloppy. We got to look at ourselves in the mirror and clean some things up.
“As an older guy in the program, I think it’s my job to uphold the standard and if I keep going hard and doing it the right way, I think the younger guys will follow my lead. So, I just tell them to keep their head down, keep working hard and things will work themselves out.”