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No real script for ECU scrimmage

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Coach Mike Houston directs a player during practice a practice last week.

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, March 30, 2019

A benchmark for East Carolina football’s spring drills under first-year coach Mike Houston comes today with a first full-scale scrimmage inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

That will be followed by a second scrimmage next Saturday and then the Purple-Gold Game on April 13.

“We will get out there with no practice schedule and no script and you put the ball down, other than some situations I have scripted out for the offense,” Houston said. “We will simulate very much like a live game situation. I think (the players) are excited for that because it’s not all the drills and individual work, but you get to go out there and just play ball.”

ECU practiced Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon to prepare for today’s scrimmage.

Some seniors from 2018 were at Dowdy-Ficklen on Thursday for the Pirates’ pro day, including defensive end Nate Harvey after last year leading the American Athletic Conference with 14.5 sacks. This spring, ECU also is missing injured rising senior D-end Kendall Futrell, who tied with Alex Turner with four sacks last season.

“As we continue to expand our defensive package, certainly we have a variety of different pressures with zone and man (coverage) that we will use in the fall,” Houston said of his team’s developing pass rush without Harvey. “That is something we have always used and will continue to use.”

The Pirates practiced in their home stadium last Saturday, ending the day with a series of offense-versus-defense red zone drills. Offensive highlights included rushing touchdowns by running back Darius Pinnix and No. 1 quarterback Holton Ahlers, along with backup QB Reid Herring tossing a TD pass.

ECU’s defense, which will be looking to bounce back today in a scrimmage setting, was missing Futrell along with injured returning starting linebacker Bruce Bivens.

“It was real fun out there and being around the guys, because the atmosphere is just different,” said senior receiver Deondre Farrier, who has been lauded this spring by Houston for consistency in his workouts.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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