Paul Troth said he hadn’t seen his teammates vomit before at
spring practice. That was Troth’s way of saying that the tempo had picked up
with the new coaching staff of John Thompson.
The workouts started Tuesday and were open to the public.
Spring sessions will be held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3:45 p.m.
over the next four weeks. Saturday practices will be at 9:15 a.m. There will
be no Friday practice on April 11, the day before the spring scrimmage,
which will be conducted at 3 p.m. on Sat., April 12.
“It was a million miles an hour for everybody, especially
the quarterbacks,” Troth said on Tuesday. “It’s a totally different scheme
but I’m already falling in love with it. It takes a lot of coaching to get
us where we’re getting, and Coach — he’s just a great guy so far from what
I’ve seen. Coach Stock is going to get us right.”
Troth was referring to new ECU offensive coordinator Rick
Stockstill, who was on the staff at Clemson for 14 years, most recently as
Tigers receivers coach. Stockstill played quarterback at Florida State.
The coaching staff has changed but Troth said his attitude
is the same as he competes for the starting job with a group that includes
Desmond Robinson, James Pinkney, Sakeen Wright and Kort Shankweiler.
“I try to go in with the same attitude,” said Troth. “Come
in here and compete for the job. The job’s up in the air. Spring ball is
just about getting better overall as a team. Individually, you just have to
step up your game because you’ve got somebody behind you. Competition is
fierce at all positions this year, especially at quarterback.”
A purple line at the entrance to the Cliff Moore practice
facility is the new starting point for the Pirates. Players run onto the
field once they reach the line.
“We hit the field running,” Troth said. “There’s no
Troth threw 20 interceptions last year and Stockstill said
eliminating turnovers is paramount in his offensive philosophy.
“Mindset-wise, I keep telling myself the job’s not mine,”
Troth said. “With the performance I had last year, it doesn’t deserve to be
mine. Overall, if I can just get better and improve every day I’m confident
in my abilities. I’m sure the guys behind me are confident in theirs. It’s
just going to be fun to see who comes out on top. Competition always excites
people anyway and gives people something to talk about. It’s exciting.”
The tone for the practices is set by Thompson, whose energy
and enthusiasm has been obvious to anyone who has spent a few minutes with
“It’s great,” Troth said. “He comes out here very intense
and he’s just a great guy to be around. He pumps up all of us and he pumps
up his whole coaching staff and that trickles down to us. Last year’s done.
It’s a new era here and I’m just excited to be here.”
Troth said he welcomes the fans who have come out to watch.
“It’s definitely Pirate family,” he said. “It’s not just the
football team. It’s a family here and Greenville wants to come see these
guys play and wants to see the players out here working hard. Anytime they
can be around the players, they love it. I’m sure with Coach Thompson being
able to let them out on the field, it was exciting for guys out here to see
Troth said the playbook is big.
“They’ve taken a lot of the reading out of it,” Troth said.
“It’s get the ball out of your hands because we’ve got a lot of playmakers
on the team and we’ve got to get them the ball. It’s just a matter of the
quarterbacks not making mistakes.”
Stockstill said he was pleased with the effort on the first
day of workouts. Thompson said workouts will be lengthy and arduous with
much teaching and personnel evaluations to be done.
Running backs coach Jerry McManus, the lone retainee from
the previous staff, said Wednesday’s practice was more productive than
“It went better than the first day,” McManus said. “The
players were more familiar with the tempo of practice and where to go and
what to do. It was better than the first day.”
McManus has respect for his new colleagues on Thompson’s
“I think it’s going to work out very well,” he said. “There
are a lot of coaches with a lot of experience. It’s a different place and I
think it’s going to be a positive experience.”