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Montgomery reacts to UNC suspensions

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East Carolina football coach Scottie Montgomery during practice Tuesday morning at the Cliff Moore Practice Facility.


The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

East Carolina was on the football practice field Tuesday morning after having an off day Monday, the same day North Carolina suspended 13 players for selling team-issued Nike Jordan shoes.

UNC will be without 10 of those players, including quarterback Chazz Surratt, when it plays at ECU on Sept. 8 during Week 2 of the college football season.

“A lot of them are in situations where each decision that they make now is front-page news,” ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said after Tuesday’s practice. “We are not making excuses for anybody or for them for that matter, but it’s just that these are mistakes that if you are not representing a university or a school or your family, then it may not seem like that big of a deal. The truth is I know how coach (Larry Fedora) coaches them and I know how their support system is, so it is just unfortunate.

“I know a lot of those young men and where they come from and their parents, from recruiting, so it is a very hurtful time for a lot of people. Of course we have a lot of life lessons that we teach with our kids here, and not that we are adding one, but we are going to continue to reiterate that it’s just as simple as right and wrong.”

The Tar Heels open their season at California, and this will be their first time starting with consecutive road games since 2001. They lost in their last two trips to Greenville.

ECU opens with a home game against North Carolina A&T.

Montgomery continued to laud the Pirates’ quarterback play, led by Reid Herring, on Tuesday, but he also said the run game missed on some chances for big plays.

“(Defensive coordinator) David Blackwell did a good job mixing up some fronts a little bit and he brought some pressure that we haven’t seen and Reid was able to get adjusted and protect it really well, but that is not what is going to make us a good football team this year,” Montgomery said. “We’ve known that we are going to be pretty good at quarterback and receiver. ... We have the people in the backfield now to get it done and it’s the mental aspect of running the football and we have to be better than we were today.”

The team continued its schedule of all-morning practices. Workouts will be even earlier in the morning when classes begin in two weeks.

“It’s a great start to the day and you are not thinking about practice the whole day when you are in class,” sophomore starting center John Spellacy said. “This way we can focus in the meeting rooms and everything and then go to class and we can focus on school. I’m not going to lie that last year a little bit you are kind of focusing on football practice when you are in class.”

The players wore shoulder pads and helmets for practice. They will be in full pads Wednesday for the first time in preseason camp, and the first scrimmage is set for Saturday.

“Once the shoulder pads come on we are engaging and using our hands and so forth, but tomorrow it comes on completely and it needs to be a (physical) mindset all the time,” offensive line coach Don Mahoney said. “We are not anywhere where we need to be and as physical as we need to be, but we are going to keep demanding and pushing and they are going to respond to it.”

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


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