East Carolina went through the paces of a high energy, two-hour practice opening day of the 2017 spring football camp on Monday.
There was a definite excitement in the air on a crisp 58 degree spring day as Coach Scottie Montgomery and his staff put his team through the paces to begin a new season at ECU.
"The energy level is always there. I'm more concerned with how we executed. I'll get a chance to be able to go back and look at it," said ECU head coach Scottie Montgomery, "The one thing I can say looking at it from the outside in, and I'm reserved about saying anything about the details of the practices, is we didn't have many mental errors."
"The execution was pretty good at times. At other times we've got a little ways to go."
Wide receiver Trevon Brown was held out of day one on an academic level along with a couple of others who weren't disclosed, but Coach Mo expects him to be back in practice tomorrow.
"We had just a little bit of an issue just from classes, but he'll be back out tomorrow. We'll have a few guys back out with us tomorrow and moving forward they'll be back the whole time."
There is reason for optimism for Montgomery and his staff look to take this Pirate football program to a higher level of physical execution this fall.
“We’re a much stronger and faster football team, that was evident on day one by how many of our guys have really transformed their bodies during the offseason," said Montgomery, "I thought our communication on defense was as good as I’ve ever seen it and we had great execution up front.”
Junior offensive lineman Garrett McGhin, who started 11 games at left guard last year, has moved over to center. Also Montgomery announced that both defensive end Kiante Anderson and defensive back, return specialist Chris Love will be held out of contact this spring as they continue to rehabilitate from injuries.
According to ECU, A total of 19 walk-ons competed in Monday’s workout in hopes of earning a designated roster position.
Pirate offensive coordinator Tony Petersen comes in fired up to get ECU's offense going for this season and he was bubbling with excitement after practice on Monday.
"It's so exciting to be where we're at now compared to where we were a year ago when we were starting the offense, so that's probably the best thing," said Petersen, "Gardner (Minshew) has grown huge. His knowledge of the offense and where he's at and getting through the surgery he had, he's not going to have to deal with all of that anymore. I expect him to have a great spring and be ready for a big time fall."
Minshew comes in fired up to be the starter at the moment and he hopes to solidify his spot with Coach Petersen as the spring progresses.
"It feels great to have his confidence. It's something I've tried to earn since I've been here and it means so much to me," quarterback Gardner Minshew said, "It's going to be a grind over these next fifteen practices, so we've got to stay even keel and we'll be a lot better a month from now."
Minshew gained a great deal of playing experience last season and with that he hopes it translates into a more calm, focused signal caller this fall.
"It was so great. The game slowed down so much for me. I was kind of thrown in and that's OK. That's made me so much better right now," said Minshew.
Last fall, Scottie Montgomery spent an inordinate amount of time installing practice protocol and getting his team acclimated to the new system of coaches and practice. This season, all of that has been installed leaving more time for his team to just learn and get better.
"A lot more teaching. The process of how we practice is hard. It's on and off the field. It's detail, it's drill to drill," said Montgomery, ''Now our coaches are spending a lot more time teaching the fundamentals of how we play the game instead of how we practice. We have to get the way we practice down pat before we do anything else and that's good to know, but we're teaching now."
Catch complete day one post practice audio from ECU offensive coordinator Tony Petersen, quarterback Gardner Minshew and ECU head coach Scottie Montgomery here on PirateIllustrated.com.
Join us for more coming up on PI Premium when we catch up with new running backs coach Jason Nichols who played at ECU under Coach Steve Logan and new wide receivers Coach Keith Gaither who talks about his ties in the state of North Carolina and more. That and more here on Rivals.com.