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Offense bounces back in ECU’s second scrimmage

GREENVILLE — East Carolina punctuated its preseason camp with its second scrimmage Saturday in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. After the Pirate defense ran the show in the first scrimmage a week prior, the offense showed signs of all-around improvement.

The offense — especially up front with the ground game — recovered from being held to 2.7 yards per carry. As a whole, the offense did well to limit its turnovers, too. There were two giveaways on the afternoon.

On the injury front, the offense got a nicked-up Jimmy Williams back on the field after he sat out the first scrimmage. Perhaps the biggest piece of news from the end of camp is that, per Montgomery, junior wideout Trevon Brown has been cleared for non-contact practice.

All around, head coach Scottie Montgomery was pleased with the ball security and playmaking in all three phases of the game.

Here are a handful of takeaways from the conclusion of ECU’s camp:

 

Minshew continues to separate himself from Sirk

Gardner Minshew continued to build his case for the starting quarterback role when ECU begins the season Sept. 2 against James Madison. He completed 11-of-16 pass attempts for 156 yards. Sirk had 10 completions on as many tries, but also threw an interception. Both scored on the ground, although Sirk’s touchdown came in a red-zone phase.

“I can always be tugged both ways because of certain situations that I saw out there,” Montgomery said. “There’s a lot of things I was watching situationally that, probably from the outside, you can’t see. The tape is going to show. There’s no question about it. We’re going to be able to find out and hopefully make a decision soon.”

 

Run game thrives thanks to improved play upfront

Derrell Scott, Tyshon Dye and the ECU running backs went from averaging 2.7 yards to 5.5 yards per carry this week. Each had six carries. Dye led the team with 60 yards on the ground. Freshman Darius Pinnix also got five tries at running the ball. Montgomery chalked their success up to leaps made by the offensive line.

“We ran the ball really well today. We saw some really good runs,” Montgomery said. He highlighted Dye, Scott and Hussein Howe. “… That means our offensive front had a great day. I really wanted to see how we did. I don’t remember very much pressure being applied to our quarterback like last week.”

 

Williams looks good after missing first scrimmage

Former Washington standout Jimmy Williams had a field day after missing ECU’s first scrimmage. The senior receiver hauled in four passes for 88 yards. Greenville product Mydreon Vines also continued to fight for playing time this season. He followed his 123-yard performance from a week ago with seven catches for 63 yards.

“Nobody was coming in here covering me today,” Williams said. “… I felt like, coming out here, nah, nobody guards us as a group. We’ve got to come out here and perform. We can’t let the defense win. Yeah, it’s a scrimmage, but we’re out here to compete.”

 

Love, secondary make plays against receivers

With Williams back and Vines continuing to make waves, the Pirate secondary faced a tough task at the end of camp. Senior Chris Love led the team with seven tackles. Linebacker Jordan Williams also had six takedowns.

“Defensively, we did make some plays,” Montgomery said. “We had caused a great play on the (Dedrick Hawkins) interception. … Jimmy came back, and when Jimmy comes back, Jimmy makes plays.”