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Stopping Brown a big challenge

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East Carolina's Trevon Brown (88) tries to get into the end zone against BYU at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Oct. 21, 2017.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Monday, March 19, 2018

Trevon Brown is a big-time playmaker for the East Carolina football team, which he is proving yet again during spring practice.

Quarterbacks and offensive coaches have been raving about this dynamic during drills and scrimmages, highlighted by head coach Scottie Montgomery referring to Brown as a consistent “safety blanket” for the QBs and especially first-teamer Reid Herring.

It hasn’t been easy for the defensive players tasked with guarding the Pirates’ No. 1 receiver, but first-year coordinator David Blackwell also is viewing it as a challenge that will have its benefits.

“I’m glad he’s here and I want to see him every day because he’s as good a football player as we’ll see this year,” Blackwell said. “He’s a great player and he made a play in the end zone (during Saturday’s scrimmage) when we had a safety competing and fighting for the ball with him, and he made the play. I can live with things like that because when two great players are fighting for the football, guys make plays.

“Our safety was in position and he had his hands on the ball, and Trevon took it away from him. We have to learn from that to not play slow on it and to snatch the ball and bring it in, instead of keeping his hands high.”

Blackwell added that Brown, who had two 95-yard touchdown receptions in 2017, is getting a lot of attention, but his defensive backs also are working in some personal victories.

“It’s only going to make us better, but we win our share too against him,” the coordinator and former Pirate player of the early-1990s said. “In scrimmages, I wish they could pull him and let him sit on the sideline for a little while, but the reality is that every day we go against him, it makes us better. And we have guys on our side that every day they go against us, it makes them better.”

Brown and East Carolina returned to practice Monday after a day off Sunday. The Pirates will hold a draft by players in the coming days to set the roster for Saturday’s Purple-Gold game. 

The 6-foot-2, 211-pound Brown said some of his most intense moments during practices over the years have come against cornerback Corey Seargent, who like Brown is a senior. They also are close off the field, which Brown said is typical this time of year.

“I’m on the (offensive) side of the ball, so I’m going to say that we always win,” Brown said. “But it’s all fun. We are a tight group. The DBs and receivers can talk junk out here on the field, but outside of this we hang out and do stuff together.”

Junior defensive back Devon Sutton backed up Blackwell’s comments that a lot of the big pass plays during the spring come down who ends up winning the 1-on-1 battles while the ball is in the air.

“We can be in position and they’ll be in position to make a great play, but you just have to fight through the whistle and play through the hands at DB,” said Sutton, who has been working mainly at the nickel “Pirate” position in the defensive secondary. “Both guys might get their hand on the ball, but it’s just going to come down to grit at end of the day and players making plays.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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