Pirates set for first scrimmage today
By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Today’s East Carolina football scrimmage will lack the drama of a quarterback battle, as that piece of the puzzle has been in place for some time.
Just about everywhere else on the field for the Pirates, however, there are legitimate battles for starting jobs and, perhaps more importantly, for lead backup roles for first-year head coach Scottie Montgomery. The team will take its initial scrimmage snaps of August camp this morning in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, with senior starting quarterback Philip Nelson leading the charge.
“We’ve got to find out who can make plays, and we’ll find that out truly (today) — who can get guys on the ground, who can catch the ball if it hits them in the hands,” Montgomery said, noting that his assistants have done their jobs in terms of putting players in the right places to succeed in new schemes on both sides of the ball.
Senior Zay Jones and junior Trevon Brown at the outside receiver positions, along with junior Anthony Scott in the backfield, know they are almost certain to start Sept. 3 against Western Carolina, but behind all three at the skill positions is some serious jostling that will continue today.
The ECU offense line is perhaps the unit in greatest need of a defined second unit, though Montgomery has lauded the play of his starting five in camp.
On defense, the Pirates will be limited somewhat by bumps and bruises, but the fierce inside linebacker competition between mikes Jordan Williams and Cam White will continue.
“He is a freak of nature physically. He can do it all,” Montgomery said of Williams, the team’s top returning tackler from last season. “Cam is very, very competitive and he is also physically fit for the position. They’re in a huge, huge battle.”
A secondary that has also drawn continued praise from Montgomery this summer will also face its first live tests today.
The head coach noted that sophomore outside linebacker Yiannis Bowden would “be fine” despite having missed this week’s practices following a morning injury early in the week. Senior nose tackle Demetri McGill also spent the week stuck on the shelf due to injury.
Montgomery credited his team for its improvement in discipline throughout camp to date.
“The mental errors have started to go south quickly,” he said. “We’re happy about that.”
Contact Nathan Summers at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9595 or follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.