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ECU’s defense excels in first preseason scrimmage

GREENVILLE — East Carolina took to the field in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday for its first intra-squad scrimmage of the preseason camp. The Pirates have been spending plenty of time on the practice field. Scottie Montgomery and the coaching staff hope that scrimmages can help clear up position battles.

Montgomery has said he wants to have a definitive starting quarterback after the last scrimmage. He wants to know, without a doubt, who will be under center against James Madison on Sept. 2.

There are battles going on at receiver and running back, too. Players are competing for field time behind some of those that seem entrenched atop the depth chart at this point.

However, the Pirate defense made it tough for those offensive players fighting to climb up the ranks. It recorded six turnovers and eight tackles for loss. The offense produced three touchdowns.

Here are some takeaways from the first scrimmage:

 

QB battle still murky

The difference between Gardner Minshew and Thomas Sirk was marginal. Minshew, who started a handful of games in 2016, completed 11-of-17 attempts for 181 yards. He struck Rose product Mydreon Vines for a 10-yard touchdown. Sirk, a Duke graduate transfer, completed 9-of-14 passes for 118 yards. He had a 18-yard touchdown toss to Terrell Green, but also threw an interception. However, Sirk was also without receivers Jimmy Williams and Davon Grayson. Both would have let him look down the field more often.

 

Scott shines against stiff defense

ECU’s offense ran 45 times for an average of 2.7 yards-per-rush on Saturday. Derrell Scott managed to thrive, though, as he took seven carries for 58 yards. He also had a 32-yard catch out of the backfield. The former Havelock standout continues his excellent preseason after being a non-factor in 2016. Montgomery was also impressed with Clemson transfer Tyshon Dye. He was able to punch in a touchdown. The 2-yard score was ECU’s only one on the ground.

 

Williams a stud on defense

Star linebacker Jordan Williams led the Pirate defense with seven tackles on Saturday. He got in the backfield once for a takedown behind the line of scrimmage, and notched an interception. Williams’ also helped to run things smoothly up front. Defensive end and South Central product Kiante Anderson also stood out with six tackles and a pair of sacks.

 

Names to know

There are a handful of certainties during the preseason. It’s also a time to figure out who can make an impact in the fall. There’s no better time to experiment than in a scrimmage. Mydreon Vines, a freshman out of Rose, got plenty of targets on Saturday. He led receivers with 10 catches for 123 yards. Another rookie in Jayden Borders made three catches for 28 yards. Defensively, freshman linebacker Bruce Bivens notched six tackles, which tied for second most on the afternoon. Walk-on Da’Andre Beverly had four tackles and a 27-yard interception return.