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August 15, 2012

Big Wednesday

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Taking the next step as a team was the focus of fall camp at East Carolina on Wednesday. With just two weeks left before the home opener against Appalachian State, time is of the essence.

The Pirates still have a lot of work to do and depth charts to fill. In the time remaining, this team will have to continue to find ways to improve before kickoff on September 1.

Conditions in the mid 70's and sunshine was the rule on Wednesday as the team came out in shells and went through a array of individual and team drills designed to fundamentally solidify the ballclub.

The second scrimmage of the fall is Saturday and that one will for sure go a long way toward naming a starter and a backup quarterback.

That is going to be a tough decision, but from what we can see, Rio Johnson and Shane Carden seem to be neck and neck with the other two not far behind.

Outside linebacker Justin Dixon sat practice out on Wednesday and observed from the sideline with a minor tweak of an injury that should not keep him out for any real length of time.

"After the first off day the guys moved out of the dorms and back into their apartments, I thought the guys came out crisp, ready to go, the execution was good on all three sides of the ball," according to third year ECU Head Coach Ruffin McNeill, "We got a lot of condidence on special teams today, the offense moved the ball around, did a great job of doing that, the defense flying around adding things, I like the way this team approached the day. We're still in training camp mode, so it's a full day of lifting, meetings and a normal training camp schedule."

With time running short, some big decisions have to be made at quarterback and some other positions but for now it's all about preparation.

"These next three days, we've asked our coaches to expose the team to some of the things our opponents will present during the season before getting on with preparation for Appalachian State."

Team personnel notes from ECU:

RB/TE Zico Pasut (concussion) and ILB Jeremy Grove returned to full-time status Wednesday after initially missing work and then only engaging in limited participation during the last four days ... IWR Donte Sumpter (right ankle) went back to sidelines one day after being cleared to play, while IWR Danny Webster (right leg), IWR Quataye Smyre (left leg) and DE Justin Dixon (left shoulder) also sat out Wednesday's practice ... Walk-on OLB Darian Harris, who had a unit-leading five stops during last Saturday's scrimmage, will miss the remainder of camp with a concussion ... The Pirates' closed-to-the-public scrimmage Saturday precedes the 18th Annual Meet The Pirates Night, ECU's preseason football fan fest, which will begin at 5:00 p.m. ... Thursday's Practice Times: 8:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. & 4:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.; Season Opener: Sept. 1 vs. Appalachian State in Greenville (12 noon).

Catch PI-TV video of Coach McNeill's postpractice comments in their entirety including an injury report along with interviews with defensive end John Lattimore and offensive lineman Drew Gentry and PI First Photos from Wednesday as PirateIllustrated.com's fall camp coverage continues.

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