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Herring doesn't practice; Freshmen split reps

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East Carolina's Reid Herring throws a pass against North Carolina in Greenville on Sept. 8, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Freshmen quarterbacks Kingsley Ifedi and Holton Ahlers split reps with the East Carolina first-team offense Tuesday morning — 50-50 according to head football coach Scottie Montgomery — as starter Reid Herring did not practice because of a lingering ankle injury.

Montgomery said he was disappointed that Herring could not participate. He said that is not frustration pointed at the sophomore QB, but instead the situation of his availability as the Pirates (1-2) are preparing to host Old Dominion (1-3) on Saturday.

“He has to practice,” Montgomery said of the outlook for the week. “This isn’t one of those games where we have Michael Jordan or Willis Reed and you can take him off the field or the court and put him right back in and they’ll be fine. We have to have him practice, and I would like to see him practice tomorrow.”

Herring twisted his ankle on a run during a 20-13 loss at South Florida last Saturday night.

Offensive coordinator Tony Petersen said Herring, who has three touchdown passes this year, three interceptions and is third in the American Athletic Conference at 284.0 passing yards per game, took mental snaps during practice kind of like an offensive coordinator.

“He sees the signal and knows what the play is and is going through it and going through a fake or a read or where to throw the football on time,” Petersen said. “Reid was over there and he had his practice script and he was locked in on every play and he was locked in on what was going on. I have no doubt he got better today.”

Senior right tackle and team captain Garrett McGhin, who also was out briefly against the Bulls after receiving medical attention on the field at Raymond James Stadium, also didn’t practice Tuesday.

Ifedi played in the Pirates’ first game, completing his only pass attempt for 5 yards in an upset loss to North Carolina A&T, but Ahlers has been a spark in the run game the last two contests.

The 6-foot-3, 236-pound Ahlers has three rushing touchdowns in two games. He is 1-for-3 passing for 3 yards.

Ahlers led the Pirates in rushing against USF with 12 carries for 48 yards and the team’s lone TD. The depth chart released Monday for the ODU matchup had Herring followed by Ifedi — a redshirt freshman — and then Ahlers, a true rookie and former D.H. Conley High School star.

“We are trying to bring Holton along as fast as we can, and we feel like Kingsley is in a good spot,” Montgomery said. “They did a good job today and I was really happy with the way they went through the day, especially as the first day of install is usually the heaviest day on install.

“We had a lot going in today and for the most part they did a good job, but there are a few things we need to clean up. … We finished the practice with a really good 2-minute drive to win the game with Kingsley.”

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

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