ECU Shows Improvement in First Stadium Scrimmage
Saturday’s first stadium scrimmage of this year’s fall camp served as an opening barometer as the team heads into next week.
The team looked solid at times both on offense and defense. There were more secondary defenders swarming around the football when it was thrown and offensively, the quarterbacks seemed to have a grasp of what they were trying to do.
“I told the team that this is the most valuable film that we have in camp. With the officials, the coaches aren’t out on the field. Everybody is on the sideline and you have to operate on your own. It’s really the first time they’ve had to go out and operate like a football team,” said head coach Mike Houston.
“We saw a lot of positives and negatives. We saw some things we’re doing really, really well right now and saw some things that we’ve really got to work on. That’s the way it is in every preseason scrimmage,” Houston said, “I’m happy and I’m mad. I’m happy about the things we’re doing well and sad about the things we’re not doing well and that’s just the way it is when you’re going against yourself.”
“Negatives, I didn’t like our sense of urgency at times. I think we’ve got to play with more urgency on both sides of the football. I didn’t like our level of intensity at times,” Houston said, “We’ve got to be able to sustain intensity throughout a scrimmage. If you get the momentum, you can’t let up and you’ve got to build on that and you’ve got to ride the wave. When the momentum is against you, you’ve got to learn to fight and get the momentum back.”
Quarterback Holton Ahlers threw the ball around with proficiency in addition to scampering out of the pocket for a 30-yard touchdown later in the morning. Reid Herring showed good ability to throw the football and more of a propensity to escape the pocket when needed than we have seen in the past.
“Every single day with Big John, he has a great program of speed and agility and also strength now. My knee is a hundred percent. I feel good and faster because of that program in the offseason.”
Ahlers said the offensive line is probably the unit that has improved the most during the offseason.
“They’re experienced, they’re big and they’re leaders. We’ve got depth there so I’m definitely excited about them. They’re kind of the engine of our offense. They really looked good today. I think the line protected good, we had good play calls and the receivers made plays,” said quarterback Holton Ahlers, “The offense definitely looked good. We had a couple of missed assignments that we’ve got to get better at. We’ve just got to watch the film and see how we did.”
“I think the offense played well. The defense did as well. There was a bunch of plays on both sides of the ball. It felt different than our past scrimmages,” said veteran ECU quarterback Reid Herring, “We’re more together as a team and I think thats showing and you can definitely feel it in the locker room.”
“I think we are very hungry and I think it’s very obvious to feel that in the locker room,” Herring stated after Saturday’s scrimmage, “You can feel the change. A lot more pressure on each other to be our best and stay focused and execute well. It’s a great feeling and I think we’re on the right track.”
Even Alex Angus and Bryan Gagg got into the act, seeing action in the two-hour scrimmage in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
While no statistics were given to the press this go round, it was evident that this year’s team has an opportunity to show marked improvement.
“We took a big first step today towards August 31st and I think some things were very evident to me both good and bad. We look forward to a positive afternoon with the film and then get ready to go on Monday and have a good week next week.”
“Alex Turner really stood out today. He showed the toughness and intensity that we want from our defensive unit. That was a big positive for me,” Houston said, “We have very few penalties today. We had a couple of offsides penalties early on the defense and that was it. We had I think one procedural penalty on offense, so I think anytime you have that few flags, I think that’s a positive.”
Turner gave his assessment of the day’s events overall.
“We had a lot of good effort out there. There are obviously some things that we need to improve on and some mental errors that some guys had,” sand Turner, “But I think for the most part we showed good effort and we had a good scrimmage.”
PirateIllustrated.com was there to bring you PI Photos and post scrimmage comments from Coach Houston along with quarterbacks Ahlers and Herring along with defensive lineman Alex Turner as coverage of the 2019 ECU fall football camp continues.