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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
By Brian Bailey
WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director


Football and 'Q' poised to grab spotlight


By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


Spring football is an absolute whirlwind.

With “March Madness” as a backdrop and Pirate baseball playing 4-5 games a week, the spring football season seems to be over before it really gets started.

Of course, I’m not out there practicing like the players are, as they probably feel they’ve had enough for the spring.

The spring football game is the annual centerpiece for the “Great Pirate Purple Gold Pigskin Pigout Party” at East Carolina. It’s a celebration of football and bar-b-cue and all things Pirates.

The spring game is usually not all that exciting. There was that Aundrae Allison forward leap into the end zone that year that got Coach Skip Holtz all riled up, but plays like that are usually few and far between in the spring game.

There was the ‘tornado’ game one spring. Fans were asked to leave and the game was shortened. ECU director of football ops Clifford Snow kicked all of the media out of the Murphy Center because there were recruits inside.

I always knew recruiting was important, but I never thought about it in tornadic terms.

The Pirates held their second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. It was a turnover free afternoon for the offense. Which meant it was a non-turnover creating day for the Pirate defense.

“It’s always like that,” said Pirate coach Ruffin McNeill. “It’s good that we didn’t turn it over, but we want to create some turnovers for sure.”

The ECU offense was much better in scrimmage number two in comparison with Monday’s first scrimmage.

“We’re moving the ball,” said rising senior quarterback Shane Carden. “We’re finishing drives and that was a big emphasis this week, finishing drives and just not hurting ourselves with negative plays.”

Carden was pleased with the outing but as always knows there is plenty of room for improvement.

“I think there were too many penalties today,” he said. “That’ll happen on the first day with real referees in the spring. We just have to continue to get better and better.”

Carden is always the competitor. He knows that he and the offense weren't at their best in the opening scrimmage last Monday.

“I think we were a little fired up from last week,” Carden said.

On defense the Pirates had seven plays for lost yardage in the scrimmage. The linebacking crew continues to get rave reviews.

“Defensively, the leaders are those backers," McNeill said. "Montese Overton, Maurice Falls, Zeek Bigger and Brandon Williams are going to have a chance to be four of the best we’ve had here. They all did a good job up front and I think our secondary is really jelling together, and that’s all due to Rick and his teaching philosophy.”

Bigger agreed.

“I feel like we’re getting there,” said Bigger. “ I wouldn’t say that we’re all the way there yet. We have to see some things on film and get some things straight for the spring game.”

The Pirates will go through two more practices, Wednesday and Friday, leading into the spring game. The kickoff for that game is at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.


E-mail Brian Bailey.

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