Photo courtesy of ecupirates.com
ECU has been through two fall preseason camp practices preparing for the season opener on August 31 at NC State. The Pirates will continue to practice every day, taking only Sunday’s off through the preseason. Here are some notes from ECU head coach Mike Houston at camp:
- The summer heat dominated the first two days of camp. Houston was disappointed in veterans tapping out of practice on day one. He said that players responded much better on day two. He pointed to the offensive line group as an example of a group he was disappointed with after the first practice but improved after the second one. Houston talked about the need to finish practice strong and said that it’s going to be hot against State in the opener but players have to fight through and not give up big plays.
- Houston has held off on naming a starting quarterback. Holton Ahlers and Reid Herring have switched off between first and second teams. Bryan Gagg is running the third group consistently. Many other players flipped flopped on the depth chart in the first two days as well. Houston said that the depth chart will fluctuate a lot for the first two weeks of camp in August when things will be solidified and the team will begin to prepare for its opener.
- Four-star commit Traveon Freshwater’s status was uncertain on whether or not he’d be able to go at preseason camp, but he’s participated in the first two practices. Houston said Freshwater has been professional and has done everything he can to be with the team. He is enrolled at ECU and can practice with the team but it hasn’t yet been determined if he can play in games, as Houston said they are still working that out with the NCAA. Freshwater could redshirt and practice with the team all season if not cleared to play.
- Houston often gives inspired answers to questions and didn’t disappoint after the first practice of camp. The morning of, he tweeted out the season schedule and talked about how expectations don’t matter if you don’t back them up.
“I put that tweet out because that quote right there fits a lot of things around here and around this university, and around this program. You can have expectations, that’s all fine and good, but if there’s not a commitment to match those expectations then they’re false. They’re fake. And we’re not going to be about that. We’re going to be committed in this program to meet the expectations that we have. Everybody else has got to be the same way.”
- Houston detailed the differences between spring practices and fall practices. He said that spring practice was for developing younger players and seeing what you have on your roster, whereas fall practices are for getting a football team ready to play its next opponent.
- Houston has been very complimentary of the Pirates new practice field, especially the turf field. It is part of the many facility upgrades that have taken place around the campus, including the renovation project to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
- The Pirates updated their weight listing for the 2019 rosters, and D’Angelo McKinnie went through the biggest change, going from 235 in 2018 to 277 currently. McKinnie has undergone a position change from a tight end a year ago to a defensive lineman now.