I got the surprise of my life when people were complaining about a DR editorial. You mean the BYH column is not the...

Ahlers uses summer months to prepare, watch film


ECU quarterback Holton Ahlers, back, looks downfield during a spring scrimmage.


The Daily Reflector

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Many East Carolina football fans know what Holton Ahlers will be doing in August and the ensuing months as the Pirates’ sophomore projected starting quarterback.

Others fans might have noticed the Greenville native was an ardent ECU baseball fan in June, but in July, he and other Pirate leaders are often seen in the Murphy Center or on ECU practice fields directing unique summer workouts.

“It’s kind of like the off month for the coaches to be in and out and doing stuff, so it is mostly player-run,” Ahlers said of July. “We lift and run in the morning, then will watch film together and go out there and do 7-on-7 and 1-on-1 stuff. It can be just like practice, but there are no coaches and we are running it.”

ECU begins preseason camp on Aug. 2 under first-year Pirate coach Mike Houston after a winning three-year stint at James Madison.

In addition to scheduled workouts, Ahlers said the summer is an ideal time to prepare for the preseason by watching game film. That film, however, is not strictly limited to Pirate games from 2018.

“Every day, you are trying to learn more and more through the offense, so I am watching a lot of JMU from last year and seeing how they ran plays and seeing protections,” Ahlers said. “I do also watch myself a lot from last year, just to pick up on new things and a lot of coverage. I’ve watched N.C. State, because obviously that is our first (opponent), but I just change it up every day and learn something every day.

“Some days, like if I’m focusing on protections, I won’t even watch the play but I’ll look for pre-blitz pick-ups and what I would do and stuff like that.”

The Pirates’ first four games are at N.C. State, versus Gardner-Webb, at Navy and home against William & Mary. They will be looking for a solid start to a new season to help shake off three straight 3-9 records from 2016-18 and plenty of struggles in the American Athletic Conference. Many summer projections call for UCF and Cincinnati to be the leaders in the AAC East Division for the second straight year.

Houston came to East Carolina in December with an 80-25 career record from his years at Lenoir-Rhyne, The Citadel and JMU.

ECU’s new coach and seniors Alex Turner and Deondre Farrier will be in Rhode Island on Monday and Tuesday for American Athletic Conference media days.

“(Houston) is intense and he doesn’t let a lot of stuff, or anything, get through,” Ahlers said. “He’s intense and he focuses on the details, which is what we need here.”

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


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