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Bless your heart to the speed demons in the black car that flew past me on Hines Drive Ext today in Ayden.I was going...

AAC: Navy coach sides with Johnson

Military Bowl Virginia Navy Football

Navy's running back John Brown III is upended by Virginia's Brenton Nelson in the first half of the Military Bowl NCAA college football game, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Friday, April 20, 2018

Ken Niumatalolo is on Paul Johnson’s side when it comes to the new NCAA rule in football that bans blocking below the waist that occurs five yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

Niumatalolo is the veteran coach at Navy, which runs the triple-option rushing scheme maybe better than any other team in the country. That attack can involve running backs being lead blockers in space and down the field.

The Navy head man’s comments Wednesday during the American Athletic Conference spring teleconference were similar to Georgia Tech’s Johnson, who was at Navy before going to Georgia Tech in 2008 and continuing to run the triple option. Both coaches think their is inconsistency in the rules for when blocking is dangerous and that tackling below the waist is similar to blocking below the waist.

“Either cutting below the waist is dangerous or it’s not,” Niumatalolo said. “And I can only image that there has been a ton of people over the years who have blown their knees out and breaking ankles and stuff by getting tackled below the waist.”

The Midshipmen have been one of the most consistent teams in the American since joining the league in 2015. They were second in the nation last year at 351.4 rushing yards per game.

“I get these types of questions asked all the time and how it is going to affect us and we just adjust, because this isn’t the first cut-blocking rule that has changed over the last 10 years,” Niumatalolo said. “There’s one every year and we just adjust.”

Looking up

East Carolina, Connecticut and Cincinnati have all been through coaching transitions the last few years and they tied for last place in the AAC East division in 2016 and ‘17.

It was ECU that allowed the most points among league teams a season ago and Cincinnati that scored the least. Both squads are looking to improve on those statistics in order to move up in the AAC East ranks.

“With how we practiced and during scrimmages (this spring), we challenged the guys to treat it like a game and when there’s breaks you come to your coach like you do on the sideline and be able to articulate certain types of things,” said Cincy coach Luke Fickell, a former Ohio State defensive coordinator. “With the communication and understanding of what and why and the development of those things, I think we have come a long way. It showed in flashes during the spring, but I think it’s going to really carry over into the summer and our work in the fall.”

Pirate third-year head coach Scottie Montgomery has expressed optimism in a defensive turnaround under new coordinator David Blackwell. He was confident in that again Wednesday.

“Now knowing a lot of the people we have in the building, his scheme fits our kids really well,” Montgomery said. “This was probably the most difficult spring, from an offensive standpoint, that they have had to go through against our defense because we play great base defense now. We’ve learned how to generate pressure without always having to do it with people from the second and third levels.”

Down in Dallas

The AAC has two new coaches in Josh Heupel at Central Florida and veteran Sonny Dykes taking over at SMU.

Heupel and the Knights are coming off an undefeated season and will likely have great expectations again for this season. Dykes, a former head coach at Louisiana Tech and California who was an offensive analyst at TCU a year ago, said part of the satisfaction he has had so far with the Mustangs comes from a new lifestyle in Dallas.

“My family and myself have settled about two-tenths of a mile from our practice field, so from a personal standpoint, I can walk my kids to school and they can walk over and watch practice and be around our players and other coaches’ kids,” Dykes said. “It’s a great situation and I can’t imagine anything any better.”

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

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

ECU

July 18, 2018

CARY — Duke football coach David Cutcliffe was asked Monday during the Bill Dooley Pigskin Preview about nightmares he has in his profession.

He joked that one involves facing a North Carolina offense and N.C. State defense during the same game. He was sitting next to East Carolina third-year…

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July 16, 2018

CARY — The 16th annual Bill Dooley Pigskin Preview followed tradition Monday and turned into part comedy act by the five coaches involved and part serious football talk.

East Carolina third-year coach Scottie Montgomery and N.C. Central interim coach Granville Eastman were joined by Atlantic…

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July 16, 2018

Speaking engagements and vacation time for college football coaches will turn into full preseason practices in less than a month, but for now there is still some balancing of obligations.

First-year East Carolina defensive coordinator David Blackwell has worked on specific details with his players…

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July 15, 2018

David Blackwell has coached college football at Pittsburgh and South Florida, which is located in Tampa.

He said it was easy to recognize that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL are kings in those cities.

He also is a former East Carolina football player and student…

120917ECUFootball-1.jpg

July 14, 2018

The Cuba team put together an abundance on runs Saturday for a 15-4 victory over the visiting USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, but USA still finished its summer with a 12-3 record and won all three of its international series.

The Americans featured East Carolina head coach Cliff Godwin as…

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July 12, 2018

The success of a profitable NCAA baseball regional held at Clark-LeClair Stadium in June and positive vibes from fans at recent Pirate Club armada events had officials optimistic at Thursday’s Athletics and Advancement Committee portion of the East Carolina Board of Trustees meeting, but the…

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July 12, 2018

East Carolina standout and Greenville native Bryant Packard went 2-for-4 as the leadoff hitter in Game 1 for the USA Collegiate National Team in the USA vs. Cuba series in Havana, Cuba, on Tuesday night.

Game 2 on Wednesday night saw ECU pitcher Jake Agnos throw four innings with three…

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July 12, 2018

July is a big month for college football fans to soak up preseason hype in the form of magazines, predictions and projections of all kinds.

These things have not been kind already to East Carolina, which has posted consecutive 3-9 seasons under coach Scottie Montgomery.

The Phil Steele Preview…

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July 11, 2018

A major “wow moment” happened for Blake Taylor before he even teed off last Thursday at The Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., for his PGA Tour debut.

It came Tuesday during a practice round for the East Carolina rising junior while playing with PGA veteran Jim Furyk.…

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July 10, 2018

East Carolina men’s golf coach Andrew Sapp is the president of the Golf Coaches Association of America, and serving in that role put him in Avion, France, last week.

He was there for the Arnold Palmer Classic, which is a Ryder Cup-style event for college golfers, while current Pirate…

Greenbrier Golf
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