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Montgomery lauds additions, announces subtractions

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ECU's Thomas Sirk is interviewed by media on Aug. 5, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Scottie Montgomery continued to rave about the upgrade in talent on this year’s East Carolina football team compared to last, even after Saturday’s first practice in pads of the new season.

The second-year ECU coach told media members on Saturday there is a great deal more talent and a lot more trust on this year’s team compared to the one that finished 3-9 in 2016. But he also announced the loss of three players — Anthony Scott, Yiannis Bowden and Blake Proehl — for the season in the buildup to the Pirates’ Sept. 2 season opener against James Madison.

“We’ve got a lot of new faces, a lot of new bodies, a lot of new personalities,” Montgomery said at the team’s annual media day, also continuing to push the Power Six mantra of the American Athletic Conference for future inclusion with the autonomous Power Five leagues. “This is a Power Six conference, and we’re playing Power Six opponents all the time.”

Montgomery also continued to outline the team’s two specific preseason goals of developing better chemistry and working on better fundamentals. Given the addition of six graduate transfers and the injection of traditional transfers like defensive back Tim Irvin from Auburn, Montgomery said there is also more belief in this year’s team.

He illustrated the team’s new-found trust with a story about himself and senior defensive back Bobby Fulp.

“Bobby Fulp and I got up in front of the team and leaned on each other’s shoulders, and we were leaning up against each other walking,” Montgomery said. “That’s true trust. A lot of people think trust is when you turn your back and you fall back and someone catches you. That’s really not trust. That’s only one person trusting and one saying, ‘Man, I hope this guy catches me.’

“That’s the biggest difference. We trust each other.”

Montgomery also said his team is bent on winning the turnover battle this year after his debut ECU team was often doomed by its turnovers and lack of takeaways. Again, he pointed to the influx of young talent and recent transfers as the best weapon in improving those numbers.

But it wasn’t all about new team members.

Montgomery announced senior running back Scott and junior defensive end Bowden would miss the season after being ruled academically ineligible. The coach also said freshman receiver Proehl is out for the season after tearing his ACL during practice.

As for junior receiver Trevon Brown, who missed last year due to academics and now remains sidelined with a neck injury, Montgomery admitted the player’s return remains a question mark.

“We’ll know more in the coming weeks,” he said of Brown, an impact player as a freshman and sophomore. “Hopefully, he’ll be a part of our team this year and hopefully we’ll get him back really quickly, but I can’t speak for the medical doctors because I don’t have the level of expertise that they do.”

Also out but expected back soon are senior defensive lineman Demage Bailey (lower leg), junior receiver Malik Gray (lower leg), sophomore defensive back Colby Gore (back), redshirt freshman defensive lineman Chandon Hickerson (lower leg) and senior rover Trevian Hicks (lower leg).

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.

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