Carden shines in second Spring Scrimmage

All three of ECU's units were in action during the team's second intra-squad squad spring scrimmage, highlighted by quarterback Shane Carden's 19-for-22 performance for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

The East Carolina football team held its second intra-squad scrimmage of the spring inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday. One week removed from its turnover-happy opener, the offense looked much smoother this time around, starting with rising-junior quarterback Shane Carden.

Carden was 19-for-22 on his passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns passes to Danny Webster and Justin Hardy. Both of which snagged a team-high six receptions.

The backfield has been a revolving door during the spring with sophomore Cory Hunter and senior Zico Pasut carrying the load and scoring on the ground Saturday

ECU's defense recorded fifteen tackles for lost yardage, led by senior linebacker Gabe Woullard and sophomore safety Dominique Lennon's team-high six tackles. A couple of freshmen forced turnovers as well. Defensive-back Deshaun Amos grabbed an interception and linebacker Tristan Mumford recovered a fumble.

Despite both units playing a cleaner scrimmage, the overall consensus was that the intensity of this past week's practices wasn't up to snub.

"This week's practices haven't been up to our championship mentality that we wanted, and that was the emphasis coming out of the second scrimmage," said Carden. "They might be alright for an average team, but we don't want to be average."

Head coach Ruffin McNeill added, "I thought fundamentals have improved from last week to this week. I saw that on both sides of the ball. We had some big plays offensively and we had some good things happen on defense."

The Pirates ran 77 offensive plays for 480 yards and on special teams went two-for-three on field goal tries (Warren Harvey: 2-for-2, Connor Torruella 0-1). There were eight penalties called, including two illegal formations on offense and a pair of pass-interference calls on defense.

The two biggest stories that have manifested themselves throughout the spring season are the running backs and the progression of defensive-coordinator Rick Smith's secondary.

Hunter is getting his first chance at action in the backfield following the suspension of Vintavious Cooper and the injury to Chris Hairston, while Pasut has been in a similar situation before.

"It was two years ago that we were on our fourth or fifth-string running backs. It was like that so far this year, but luckily its spring ball and we have the entire summer and fall camp to get some players healthy and get some players here," said Zico Pasut.

"I think it's huge for exposure and experience for the players that haven't had a chance to play and show their skills out."

Hunter fits the bill of one of those players and feels he is taking advantage of his opportunity.

"I feel like I'm taking advantage of (the opportunity) very well. It's a lot of film, and a lot of time and working to correcting everything. It's good to get reps and figure it all out," said Hunter.

ECU's secondary was the Achilles heel on many occasions last season—finishing outside the nation's top 100 in pass defense—and led to McNeill letting defensive coordinator Brian Mitchell go.

Insert Smith, whose specialty is working with defensive-backs, and there could be great strides made by the unit in 2013.

"I'm pleased with the progress we've made. I'm not pleased with the big plays," said Smith. "We didn't tackle well in the secondary."

Next week will be ECU's fourth and final week of the spring session, culminating with the Purple-Gold game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium next Saturday.

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