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Defense brings energy at practice

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East Carolina defensive lineman Raequan Purvis (89) goes for a tackle during the Purple-Gold spring game on April 22.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A theme from Saturday’s East Carolina football scrimmage continued Tuesday when the Pirates began their final week of preseason camp and coach Scottie Montgomery said the defense was overall more productive than the offense.

Part of it was because of the defense winning a lot of battles in the trenches, but it was also because of high-energy shown by defenders.

“Today, I didn't think offensively we practiced very well at all,” Montgomery said. “Our defense throughout the day dominated drills and there were some splash plays from the offense where we scored touchdowns, but I didn’t think that we did the job that we needed to do on offense. Defensively, there was a lot more energy and a lot more tempo coming out of the day and a half kind of break that we had.”

The offense did get a boost with freshman Peyton Winstead back on the offensive line after missing the scrimmage. He and sophomore transfer Jordan Johnson have been working with the top unit at right guard, and one of them is likely to soon secure the starting spot.

Other than Winstead missing most of last week, Montgomery said the Pirates so far have mostly avoided significant injuries.

“Second week of camp is usually the week where you don’t go into the week without a lot of people because of that first scrimmage, but luckily we were able to go with just about everybody that we had,” Montgomery said. “We have been pretty healthy to this point and it’s critical that we continue to have the physicality that we’ve been having every day during the early part of practice and even a little bit at the end.

“Then, once we get into later this week, we’ll have one more day of live (game repetitions) late this week and next week maybe let them touch each other a couple of times. ... We’ve been pretty healthy.”

The Pirates’ final preseason scrimmage is set for Saturday.

ECU players will begin fall classes Monday and then the team will shift to its in-season practice schedule beginning Tuesday. The season opener is Sept. 1 at home against North Carolina A&T.

“Going back to the scrimmage and being able to look at it in detail, I’ve probably seen more spectacular plays in that scrimmage and in the days up to that point than we’ve seen (in previous years),” Montgomery said. “I’ve seen some really spectacular plays out of some of our receivers and out of our DBs. Then up front, I thought there was times when (defensive tackles) Jalen Price and Raequan Purvis looked like they were in midseason form.”

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

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