As far as spring games go at East Carolina I thought this year’s was very good.
We saw most of the starters play a great deal. Nobody got hurt. There were plenty of big plays.
There were just enough turnovers to keep everything honest.
Perhaps the biggest news was the Pirates got pressure on the quarterback in the game. ECU finished dead last a year ago in sacks. That number has to improve going forward.
“I thought that defensively up front, for the first time since I’ve been here, I saw true pressure applied to the quarterback and that made me happy,” said Pirate coach Scottie Montgomery. “I thought we missed a few down-the-field shots in our passing game that we could have had, but then again, I thought some of our DBs were a lot closer than they had been throughout spring.”
ECU also hopes to have a better rushing attack in 2017.
Durrell Scott had the best run of the game, scoring from 27 yards out. He made a great move at the line and then looked like the same back that scored so many touchdowns at Havelock High School during his prep days.
Scott says he doesn’t feel added pressure, having starred at a near-by school. He called it a responsibility, and he hopes he can come through with a break-out season this year.
Scott was quick to credit his guys up front with his run.
“The offensive line really does the hardest part,” said Scott, “They move those big guys and I get the ball and just do what my coach teaches me to do, to press the line of scrimmage and then make my cut. And that’s the easy part.”
The Pirate quarterbacks weren’t as sharp as they would have liked, but I thought they both passed as far as grades go.
Gardner Minshew completed 21-of-36 passes for 265 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Reid Herring was 13-of-17 for 138 yards and a score.
“In general, I thought [the quarterbacks] did a really good job throughout spring of understanding our system,” Montgomery said. “I really think that our team did a whole completely different job of understanding our system this spring. The way that we go to class, the way we work in the weight room, everything. I think the system is in place now and we are headed in the right direction.”
The big elephant in the room is Duke transfer quarterback Thomas Sirk. As a graduate transfer, Sirk isn’t coming to ECU to sit for his final year.
Sirk announced via Twitter that he would play his last season at East Carolina, but until that document is signed it’s not official and the matter is off limits for discussion by ECU coaches.
Perhaps the best thing I heard all spring was that Gardner Minshew welcomed the challenge. One staff member said that Minshew outworks everyone and that he has no thoughts of giving up the starter’s role. That staff member said that Minshew’s attitude was ‘bring it on.’
Competition makes everyone better. Minshew’s attitude is most refreshing when most players these days would pout, or even worse, make their own plans to transfer.
Whoever plays quarterback this season, that quarterback will be blessed with an outstanding corps of receivers.
Former Washington quarterback Jimmy Williams had a monster spring.
“I’ve got more confidence than ever,” said Williams, who has reason to feel that way after a big spring. “That’s what I pride myself on and that’s what is going to make me better each and every day, my confidence. Going into this year and having so much experience, I feel like I have so much more confidence.”
Confidence was lacking in many areas for this Pirate football team last season.
This spring seemed to push the ECU program in the right direction as we all now wait for August and the start of fall camp.