Deans Returns To Practice as ECU Personnel Adjustments Continue
Scottie Montgomery outlined what his team better do against Cincinnati on Thursday to be successful at Nippert Stadium when the Pirates tee it up at 3:30 this Friday.
“We’d better be prepared to live with some three yard gains on first down and not always try to put ourselves in situations where you’ve got to score touchdowns on first down,” Montgomery told PirateIllustrated.com on Tuesday, “I really think if we stay on schedule and we can get Holton into a manageable third down with some of our guys coming back.”
“Finally (wide receiver) Tahj Deans looks like he’s about a hundred percent now. He looks back on some of that quickness on that perimeter that we will have back, we should be able to execute on third down. But we can’t execute on third and ten against this team consistently because they’re so talented at defensive end and they pressure you at corner.”
One of the bigger developments of the day was Aaron Ramseur was physically able to return to practice on Tuesday. And another name has emerged on the interior at linebacker.
“That was a really big deal especially with Ray Tillman out. We’re banged up in some other spots. Miles Berry is a guy we’ve moved to linebacker who has played in some different spots,” Montgomery said, “Probably two or three weeks ago we started training him in the interior.”
Xavier Smith is another guy who has played on both sides of the ball. The 6-0, 239 pound linebacker is currently listed as the starter this week at tight end.
“Xavier is one of the guys who can cross train,” said Montgomery, “He’s one of the smarter guys that we’ve had to be able to go and learn tight end/wing position and then he went over and worked with the linebackers and still knew all of the calls and what he was doing. So he’s doing a good job. It’s good to see a true freshman that locked in.”
Montgomery says the coaches are probably feeling the most stress of trying to get the game plan in with one less day to do it.
“I think we’re on schedule. Our players, we’ve tried to physically adjust to what we’re doing. This is supposed to be the first practice of the week for them but they’ve already had two practices in. We’ll have just like a normal Thursday tomorrow (Wednesday),” the third year ECU coach stated, “We’ve got to make sure with the time off they’ve got out of class with the Thanksgiving break, we’ve got to do a good job of getting in the training room and get them off their feet a little bit.”
“It’s late in the season, it’s a hard turnaround. You really don’t think about how hard physically on the players. Mentally they’re ready to go. They like playing as much as they can but physically it has been tough and we will try to continue to give them some good time off once school breaks here.”
Montgomery says the team will have a Thanksgiving dinner in Greenville on Wednesday before leaving for Cincinnati on Thursday.
“We’ll be together as a family the whole time. We’ve got a lot of time together. The positive is even though we’re not with our families, we are with our family. We’ll have a good time,” Coach Mo said, “We always have great devotionals on the road with Chuck (Young) and we’ll have a time with sharing like we normally do and it will be good for us.”
Montgomery talked about that along with is best Thanksgiving memories with his family and the things he likes most during the upcoming holiday in the latest from the PI sports desk.