PirateIllustrated - ECU Wraps Up Solid Fall Camp With Scrimmage Set for Saturday
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ECU Wraps Up Solid Fall Camp With Scrimmage Set for Saturday

East Carolina wraps up a strong Friday workout heading into Saturday's scrimmage in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
East Carolina wraps up a strong Friday workout heading into Saturday's scrimmage in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. (PirateIllustrated.com photo)

Friday was the last day of fall practice before a scrimmage that is scheduled for Saturday morning in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Mike Houston came away pleased with the way the team is working and how they have continued to develop.

“Tomorrow kind of ends camp. We’ve got our scrimmage tomorrow in the stadium. We’ve had a really good week so today was a little lighter practice in helmets today,” said Houston, “We worked on a lot of situations, a lot of kicking game situations preparing for tomorrow and we look forward to finishing up tomorrow. Then we’ll get our legs back, getting ready for Appalachian State.”

“I think we have had a very good camp. We just need to have a good preparation for a week and a half or so before we kick off in Charlotte on September 2nd.”

The hope tomorrow is to get a lot of work in the kicking game. That is expected to occur early in the scrimmage.

“We’ve got a roster that’s as big as we’ve ever had, but there is only 72 that is going to go to Charlotte. We know who the first 32 are, now we’ve got to figure out who the rest are. Who is ready to play and who needs more time whether it’s later this season or maybe next year for some of those young guys.”

Some of those who the staff is more sure about might not see as much action tomorrow in the scrimmage as the staff continues to evaluate the overall roster.

While ECU is not the youngest team in the country anymore, they aren't the oldest either. So it will be interesting to see how things turn out early in the season against ASU and South Carolina. That could be the key to the success of the season overall.

Houston says the team has done a good job with the vaccination process and has set themselves up to be in a good posture heading into game one. He is excited about the upcoming season and says the program is in a good place right now. They have a chance to have the kind of season he wants to have but they still have to go out and do it against a challenging schedule.

“The hope is that between vaccinations and I’ve talked to the kids about safety protocols, even though we are vaccinated, the hope is we can avoid any issues with Covid stuff. You try to do what you can and control what you can control but I am pleased with the job the kids have done with that.”

Defensively, the team continues to improve heading into game one and seem to know what they are doing, scheme wise.

“I’m very pleased. That is the positive piece of having the same scheme and same coordinator and same position coaches for a couple of years in a row and you have guys who played last year,” Houston told PirateIllustrated.com, “This time last year you’re sitting here with Chris Willis and a bunch of freshmen. Now Chris has graduated and gone on, but those guys are second year, experienced players now. You’ve got a lot of guys who have gained experience and know the scheme.”

“I think we’re playing very, very fast defensively and extremely aggressively. Tuesday and Wednesday’s practices were extremely physical practices and I’m extremely pleased with the way we run and hit. I think they feel confident with themselves right now.”

“I feel like we have good players in our program. We were the second youngest team in the country last year. We’re not going to go from being the second youngest team in the country to being the most experienced team in the country. We’re still probably one of the most inexperienced teams in the country because of so many kids coming back due to Covid.”

Houston looked at the Appalachian State roster and it appeared like a lot of them would be graduated out this year, but with the NCAA giving everyone an extra season, it changes things a bit coming into this season.

“All of those guys came back and are super seniors this year so they have a very old team,” said Houston, “So you’re still a young team but I like our team. They play hard, they play with emotion and intensity. We have good ability and good culture and good kids, so football wise I feel like the program is in a very solid play right now.”

Coach Houston says the Pirates will have a tremendous test in game one that will tell us exactly where they are as a team.

“Everybody knows we have a challenging schedule but we also have great opportunities and I’m excited to see this team play. We’re going to be extremely competitive. We’re going to have a chance to have the kind of year we all hope to have but we’ve got to go out and do it.”