No starter announced for Pirates; Montgomery praises Tahj Deans
By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
The mystery of who East Carolina’s starting quarterback is will continue to linger.
Reid Herring, Holton Ahlers and Kingsley Ifedi are splitting first-team opportunities at practice this week as ECU (2-3, 0-2 American Athletic Conference) is fine-tuning its game plan for hosting Houston (4-1, 1-0) on Saturday night at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
Pirate coach Scottie Montgomery did not announce a starter after Wednesday’s practice.
“No real quarterback update and that’s kind of the way it will be the rest of the week,” Montgomery said in his final post-practice interview session of the week. “But I thought today that we did a better job, on offense, of trying to get our playmakers the football. That is something I have talked about, and we have to do a better job of getting our (running) backs involved.
“I think we have a tremendous player in No. 88 (receiver Trevon Brown). He didn’t get enough targets last week (in a 49-6 loss at Temple) and we have to find a way to get him more involved in the football game, schematically.”
ECU’s third-year coach went on to say that the playmaking ability of Brown, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior who enjoyed a record-breaking season in 2017 that included 270 receiving yards against Cincinnati, is directly tied to the younger players around him.
“We have a really young and talented receiver in Tahj Deans,” Montgomery said of Deans, a 6-2 sophomore and former Southern Nash High School standout who has emerged recently as a starter for the Pirates. “We have to make sure that as we use No. 88, we can also utilize some of Tahj’s talents. I think Tahj is one of our quicker and faster (players) with good hands.”
Herring has started ECU’s first five games and produced mixed results.
Ahlers has played in four, highlighted by leading the Pirates in rushing each of the last three contests. But the true freshman from Greenville has struggled in the pocket as a passer.
Ifedi has seen the least action. He was listed on the depth chart as the No. 2 QB behind Herring until Monday’s update had all three players on equal footing.
Montgomery and offensive coordinator Tony Petersen have stressed this week that they want to see better quarterback leadership during games. At D.H. Conley, Ahlers thrived as an emotional leader for the Vikings.
“I need to be more vocal and that’s what I am trying to do,” the mild-mannered Herring said Tuesday. “I picked it up today and am going to continue to pick it up. I think that is what our whole (quarterback) room is working on as well, too.”
Contact Ronnie Woodward at email@example.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.