GREENVILLE, N.C. – First-year East Carolina Head Football Coach Scottie Montgomery opened the 2016 campaign Thursday with a mid-morning walk-through before guiding the Pirates through their first official workout of the season on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.
East Carolina officially kicked off fall camp with a 6 a.m. conditioning test conducted by assistant athletics director of strength and conditioning Jeff Connors.
“Physical conditioning proceeds anything else,” Montgomery said of the Pirates first practice. “I have to take my hat off to Coach Connors and his staff. It was unreal from a physical conditioning standpoint out there today. The players are ready physically, now we have to get them ready mentally to go play ball.
“Our coaches have done a great job getting everyone ready and its clear that Philip (Nelson) has done a good job with the whole offense. Defensively those two safeties (Bobby Fulp and Travon Simmons) make us different. There was a noticeable difference from the spring to now and that’s because of their talent level.”
Following treatments, positional meetings and a 90-minute walk-through, Montgomery and his staff conducted a near two-hour afternoon practice in shorts and helmets. During the first hour, the veterans went through individual group sessions working on a variety of drills before moving to 25 minutes of routes vs. air, 1-on-1 receivers against defensive backs and a 7-on-7 skeleton period. After 20 minutes of team work and the final installment of special teams, the Pirates concluded the day with a conditioning segment. The newcomers followed in the second hour duplicating the same routine.
“We didn’t want to slow the development of the veterans, so we get them out early to get a quick hard practice with that group,” Montgomery added. “It’s a reduced practice because we have 50 or 60 guys. We then incorporate special teams in between both young and old groups so we can get that phase of the game taught. Next we bring the young guys out here and slow the practice tempo just a little bit, so we can teach them the basic fundamentals of football.”
The Pirates returned for another team meeting and then broke out in special teams and positional groups before retiring to Tyler Hall for the evening.
ECU will follow Thursday’s practice with single sessions through Monday, before turning in the first of three scheduled two-a-day periods on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
The Pirates are scheduled to progress to shells/shoulder pads for the first time Saturday, Aug. 6 before a full gear workout on Monday per NCAA rules. ECU will close camp on Sunday, Aug. 21 – a day prior to the start of classes on campus – before wrapping up its overall preseason practice schedule on Sept. 1, two days before the Pirates host Western Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
Prior to Saturday’s afternoon workout, ECU will hold its annual Media Day inside the Murphy Center. Montgomery will provide his annual season-opening address that will outline the latest roster additions and deletions, personnel status and possible position changes.
Montgomery announced the addition of seven players to the Pirates’ 105-man camp roster Thursday: OL Jaison Fournet (6-1, 294, Fr., Cornelius, N.C.), DB Tim Irvin (5-9, 192, So., Miami, Fla.), OL Austin Lee (6-1, 280, Fr., Mooresville, N.C.), DL Joshon Perry (6-3, 282, Jr., Louisburg, N.C.), DS Anthony Ratliff (6-0, 208, Fr., Suwanee, Ga.), ILB Michael Swift (6-3, 228, So., Apex, N.C.) and WR Ockwon Tyson-Hart (5-9, 176, So., Greenville, N.C.) … Single-game, three-game mini packs and season tickets for all ECU home games are still available to the Pirate Nation and can be purchased by calling the ECU Athletic Ticket Office at 252-737-4500, through the Online Ticket Center (http://bit.ly/1Qad0dc), or by visiting the ECU Athletics Ticket Office … For all the latest ticket information, follow the ECU Ticket Office on Twitter (@ecuathletictix).
Friday’s Practice Time: 4:15 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Meet The Pirates: Aug. 13 inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (6-8 p.m.)
Season Opener: Sept. 3 vs. Western Carolina in Greenville (6 p.m.)