photo courtesy of ecupirates.com
ECU hit the practice field yet again on Tuesday and head coach Mike Houston called it the best practice they’ve had so far.
“I thought we had incredible effort. Thought guys were really flying around. I thought we had a positive enthusiasm in trying to encourage each other. Was it perfect? No, we made some mistakes and stuff. But our effort and trying to do what you’re coached to do was definitely there today. No better example than right there at the end, we’re doing a kickoff coverage drill which is a full field-deal, and it’s hard. Linemen are down there doing conditioning and everybody’s giving great effort. Everybody is still, after two-plus hours out there trying to do things correctly. Very positive day today.”
Houston went even further to call the practice just what the Pirates needed in terms of progress. The players didn’t grumble and had a very positive attitude all day according to Houston. ECU was able to do their first inside run drill today with thud tackling and will be able to do live tackling on Wednesday as they add on knee pads to go full pads.
Houston said ECU continues to progress in its installation. He said the offense would nearly be fully installed by the end of the week and that it would take the defense until the middle of next week to be fully installed.
It was the first day they incorporated third-down situations and Houston said it was a positive for the defense. He said they threw a lot at the defense in terms of communication and talking to each other.
“It has got to be about everybody else. It’s got to be about doing your part and counting on everybody else. One of those examples is in the secondary. Because if you’re so absorbed within yourself and not involved with everybody else, and not trying to be a part of something bigger than yourself, you’re going to be the one that busts a coverage and doesn’t communicate and doesn’t get the call. You’re going to be that guy, and we can’t have that guy in our program. It’s got to be about each other and it’s got to be about the team.”
Houston said ECU is trying out a few different options for kick and punt returners right now. That includes Tyler Snead, Ja’Quan McMillian, Juan Powell, Malik Fleming, Darius Pinnix, Blake Proehl, and Demetrius Mauney. He said they will get that list down to three as they get closer to facing NC State.
Houston said the additions they have made to the tight end group has improved the position group greatly.
Houston again complimented Kendall Futrell’s performance on the defensive line and said the matchup between him and left tackle D’Ante Smith on the offensive line has been an everyday highlight of camp so far.
While Tuesday was the best practice of camp so far and Houston loved the positive attitude from players and coaches on Tuesday, Wednesday will be a new day for the Pirates to start over and get better again.
“I try to always be a positive coach and I believe in positive enthusiasm. I don’t believe in being fake. We’re going to call a spade a spade. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s not, it’s not. If it’s acceptable, good. If it’s not, you’ve got to be real with it. I was really proud of our effort and attitude today and I think they should leave the practice field feeling better about themselves because they got better today. Now the thing is can we build on that going into full pads tomorrow? As crazy as it sounds, putting on knee pads, there’s something mental with football players. We’re going to be challenged. It’s going to be hot and it’ll be full pads. There will be some live contact at multiple portions of the practice tomorrow. So tomorrow’s going to be a big day for us.”