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Turnovers a factor for Pirates

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East Carolina safety Da'Andre Beverly makes a catch during a drill before Saturday's scrimmage.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Of all the statistics that doomed East Carolina’s football team in 2017, and on defense in particular, a glaring disparity was that ECU scored 31 points off turnovers and opponents finished with 121.

Third-year head coach Scottie Montgomery has stressed for ECU defenders to be more aggressive in going after interceptions this season, and the Pirates grabbed two on Saturday during a preseason scrimmage in addition to pouncing on a fumble.

Defensive coordinator David Blackwell, who is in his first season leading the Pirates’ defense, is hoping for an attacking mindset, and the unit was set up that way Saturday.

“We are a hard defense to run against, just because of how we play and the way we align,” Blackwell said. “If we can generate pressure on the quarterback and make plays on balls in the air then we have the chance to be pretty salty.”

The Pirates had 50 rushes for 106 yards in the scrimmage, which will be followed by another scrimmage this Saturday. The team was off Monday and will return to the practice field today.

ECU ranked last in the country a year ago in total defense, scoring defense and pass efficiency defense.

Blackwell said there were a few passes Saturday during first-team action that were frustrating to watch on an otherwise productive day by his group. Sophomore quarterback Reid Herring finished 16-of-26 for 265 passing yards and three touchdowns.

“We let them get off the hook a couple times with our first-team defense, and Reid made some nice throws on third-and-long,” Blackwell said. “On third-and-10 and third-and-11, we have to be able to get off the field. We had a chance to really have a great day defensively, but I thought it just ended up being a good day.

“I was pleased with us, but I really thought that if we finished the second half the way we did the first half then it would have been an outstanding performance.”

Linebacker Aaron Ramseur had a pass breakup and fumble force to go with a team-high eight tackles. He is set to be a starter and team leader along with fellow sophomore starting linebacker Bruce Bivens.

Another key player, hybrid defensive end Kendall Futrell, recorded a sack. Backup end Nate Harvey totaled four sacks.

Freshman Nolan Johnson, who is battling with Davondre Robinson to start at free safety in an important position to watch this preseason, excelled with six tackles.

“I feel like everybody has something to work on, but we are ready and are ready to play another team,” Ramseur said. “We are prepared and we know the plays we are running. Coach has been calling a lot of good plays that we feel comfortable with and we can attack.”

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

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ECU

February 15, 2019

Equipped with All-American Bryant Packard ready to serve again as East Carolina’s leadoff man in the batting order and a stable of proven pitchers who battled during the preseason for lead rotation spots, ECU is ready to face an opponent and begin a new season.

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February 15, 2019

CATCHER

Jake Washer, junior: Washer is back as East Carolina’s starting catcher after receiving Major League Baseball draft interest following his breakout sophomore season. In addition to showing power with six home runs and 40 RBIs a year ago, Washer posted a smooth .287 batting average.…

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February 15, 2019

One of baseball’s many adages is that good teams need to be strong “up the middle,” a reference that focuses on important defensive positions from catcher to middle infielders at shortstop and second base and then into the outfield with a center fielder.

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February 15, 2019

WEEKEND ROTATION

FRIDAY

Alec Burleson, sophomore: Burleson will be a frequent player at designated hitter and first base in the lineup, but his main focus in the season opener versus Radford will be on the pitcher’s mound. The left-hander, who was the American Athletic Conference rookie…

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February 14, 2019

East Carolina’s 64-54 women’s basketball win at SMU on Thursday night gave the Pirates consecutive victories for the first time since December.

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February 14, 2019

East Carolina’s baseball season will begin Friday at Clark-LeClair Stadium with a doubleheader at 2 p.m. and from there the series schedule versus Radford will be fluid.

Changes were made Thursday morning to the weekend schedule because of expected rain on Saturday and Sunday.

Revised Weekend…

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February 13, 2019

Joe Dooley has warned about these funks, especially on the offensive end, that East Carolina’s basketball team has been prone to lately.

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February 13, 2019

Dorthea Forbrigd shot a career-low 54-hole score of 209 (7-under-par) to claim a share of first place at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic this week.

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February 12, 2019

East Carolina baseball has four left-handed pitchers and two of them, Alec Burleson and Jake Agnos, are set to be the Pirates’ first two starting pitchers of the season.

They will go about their starts in different ways, naturally, versus Radford at Clark-LeClair Stadium. 

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February 12, 2019

East Carolina’s football team is basically being led by strength and conditioning director John Williams for another month, but head coach Mike Houston also has used weekly meetings with players and the team’s leadership council to receive positive feedback about workouts with Williams.…

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