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Emotions run high at unique practice

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East Carolina receiver Blake Proehl (11) hauled in a touchdown pass late during Wednesday's practice at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Visitors at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Wednesday morning for the naming of the TowneBank Tower press box got to see an intense end to East Carolina’s football practice, including some pushing and shoving between Pirates.

Coach Mike Houston described the practice as probably the best yet during spring drills, and prior to the point of high emotions turning into a few physical skirmishes that were quickly quashed, Houston said the practice featured the correct amount of intensity and energy.

“This is the first time we’ve had that kind of energy at one of our practices and the reason for it is I’m sure that being in the stadium to end practice was part of it and I’m sure that having an audience there was part of it,” Houston said. “We were working on red zone and late-game situations, so a lot was on the line. … With the practice today and the ending of everything, it was a tremendous teaching situation.”

Emotions ran high as quarterback Holton Ahlers hit on a long pass to Tyler Snead, along with a couple of touchdown passes by Reid Herring. Herring’s late TD tosses were brought in by Blake Proehl and then Jonathan Johnson with nifty grabs in the back corner of the end zone.

The big plays ignited celebrations by the offensive unit and fired up defensive players in retaliation.

“It is good to see (Proehl) getting a little more at full speed, and Deondre Farrier also made a nice catch on a crossing route across the middle and under pressure,” Houston said. “I thought our quarterbacks really played pretty well in those situations because there was a lot of pressure coming in different ways for a lot of those snaps.”

Wednesday’s practice was the Pirates’ first since Saturday’s second spring scrimmage, when the defense showed positive signs with solid run defense combined with recovering a fumble and collecting three interceptions.

ECU now has one more practice Friday morning before holding the Purple-Gold Game on Saturday afternoon.

“Both sides of the ball made significant strides from what we saw on Saturday,” Houston said. “As we look toward the weekend, you could feel a little bit of the excitement out here today.”

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

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