GREENVILLE, N.C. – With six practices in the books, two in shorts and four more in shells, fifth-year head coach Mike Houston guided East Carolina through its first full-pad workout of the 2023 preseason camp Tuesday morning inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.
ECU also began its preparation efforts in earnest for the first of two scheduled scrimmages, the first of which is slated for Saturday morning at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
“It was a great first day in pads,” Houston said. “It was good to get out there and have the first real live contact of the year. I thought we had an outstanding practice and both sides of the ball had their moments. I loved the intensity level and the positive enthusiasm on both sidelines as well as the way that they competed. There were just so many positives from today’s practice.
“I thought we had a lot more players come along today. Yesterday, I thought there was a separation having part of the team that really excelled and part of them that didn’t handle it well. Today, we had the bulk of the roster that went out there and competed at a high level. It’s going to be great film to watch this afternoon. We felt good coming off the practice field when you have the first day of full contact like that, and we are excited about this afternoon’s film and getting back out there for tomorrow’s practice.”
Houston, his staff and players welcomed the full contact with an early live session where the offense scored on three of the five plays thanks to a Mason Garcia run and a pair of touchdown passes to Jaylen Johnson and Jsi Hatfield. Early on, the Pirates worked on a five-minute inside run segment solely 11-on-11 rush plays deep inside scoring territory before returning to customary team and individual drills.
The Pirates closed out the last 30 minutes of practice with a 20-minute offense vs. defensive session, which was followed by goal line and field goal periods. Houston highlighted the play of Devon King during the inside run phase where he forced a fumble, while BJ Davis had a tackle for loss in the goal line session.
ECU will return to the practice field Wednesday (shells), Thursday (full pads) and Friday (helmets) before conducting its first scrimmage of camp Saturday.
Fans can follow the Pirates throughout camp on their social media channels (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).