East Carolina moved up Monday’s first practice of the week to try and beat the bad weather. The strategy worked, and first-year East Carolina Head Football Coach Scottie Montgomery says the move should pay immediate dividends.
“Today was a great focus and detailed practice, which we really needed,” Montgomery said. “We wanted to come back out early today and get our legs back underneath us a little bit before going into our first two-a-day session. On both sides of the ball the upperclassmen have been teaching and pushing the younger guys, and you can see that as the camp has begun to unfold. Now we will hit the film room and review today’s practice and get ready for tomorrow.”
Tuesday brings with it a first practice in full pads and the first double-dip of camp. It will be a long day, but another step in getting ready for the season to come.
Funny, everything changes when the pads go on.
“It’s a lot different,” said senior Phillip Nelson, who will most likely start at the quarterback position this season. “Everything changes when the pads go on.”
One thing that most likely won’t change is that the quarterbacks shouldn’t get hit. This year, the quarterbacks are in green. I, for one, hope that color change doesn’t backfire with a defensive player staying at full speed when seeing the green color.
Nelson wants to take full advantage of this second chance in life. After transferring to Rutgers from Minnesota he was involved in a fight. He faced a pair of felony assault charges that were pleaded down to a misdemeanor. He served 100 hours of community service. He still has a civil suit pending in the incident.
Since arriving in Greenville, Nelson has been nothing short of a model citizen.
“I’m very impressed with Philip Nelson and where he is with his development,’’ Montgomery said. “It’s very clear who the leader of this team is and the leader of this offense is.”
Coach Mo likes the talent on the field for Nelson and the intangibles off of it.
“When you walk into the locker room, if he’s sitting in his locker there may be 10 or 15 standing around him,” said Montgomery. “When he speaks, they move, they listen and they understand. That’s kind of where he’s changed. He knows this is his team moving forward. He knows he has the support of not only the coaching staff, but also the team, whether it be offense or defense or special teams. They’re all looking for him to be a good player for us and to do things the right way. He’s embracing that.’’
On Saturday the Pirates hosted their annual media day. Players and coaches took time out to preview the season in a relaxed atmosphere.
My early observation on this program under Coach Montgomery is that the team appears disciplined and focused. There is certainly a plan in place.
The trick will be for that plan to translate into victories come September.
While September is still several weeks away, it’s certainly getting closer by the day. Montgomery says every period of practice is vital. He wants his coaches and his players to give everything they have in each of those sets.
Still, Montgomery is cognizant that he has to have a team with fresh legs for the opener. It’s the Catch-22 of all camps. You have to get the work in while still being ready to go for the season opener.
These first five practices lead us into two-a-days.
It’s one more step toward opening day…. BB