With East Carolina’s start to spring football camp coming up this afternoon, Pirate head coach Scottie Montgomery met with the press to discuss the upcoming month of workouts and what he hopes to achieve in that time.
After a tough 3-9 season to begin the Montgomery era, the second year head coach says he hopes to shore things up in a number of areas both offensively, defensively and on special teams.
"We're going to approach each day as a game. We have fifteen opportunities to go out and compete," said Montgomery, "We're going to go out and compete at a high level and make it like a game."
"Our focus in all three phases will be on execution."
On offense Coach Mo says fumbles and tip ball turnovers will be a big emphasis. He outlined that one of the reasons for those were vision and awareness errors and he talked about the “extra defender” or the “thief” as he put it played a big part in that difficulty.
Protection of the quarterback, some of that coming from running backs in the backfield and some of it coming from the signal callers themselves in getting the ball out of their hands quicker will be an emphasis this year.
The run game will be important and Montgomery says they may have found someone who can bring a more physical brand of running game to the fold. He didn’t want to say who that was yet but says he will talk more about that as the spring progresses.
Penalty and alignment discipline will prove to be big if the Pirates are to improve this season in football according to the second year Pirate head coach.
On defense, eliminating the big play, eliminating unoccupied rush lanes will be important and that is a big point of emphasis for new defensive line coach Robert Prunty.
The Pirate defense will seek to communicate with less talking and do a better job of teaching tackling schemes and identifying guys who can tackle.
On special teams, ECU hopes to have more depth than last year due to redshirts who will be available and some returnees who weren’t here last season.
Overall, the core leadership will be important according to Coach Mo. The hope is to get everyone going in the same direction. He expects the assistant coaches to be the head coach of their respective positions and be fast to pick up on how he wants to run practices.
At quarterback, Gardner Minshew is expected to be the guy to beat with Reid Herring battling for an opportunity and getting freshman Kingsley Ifedi ready just in case he is needed.
Montgomery says Coach Jeff Connors has been instrumental in the development of the players during the offseason. He has held people accountable and states that there are too many players who have made great progress to mention them all at this point.
PirateIllustrated.com was at Ward Building on the campus of ECU to bring you Coach Scottie Montgomery’s press conference in it’s entirety. Catch it here on PI and stay tuned for practice updates beginning later today from Hight Field as Pirate spring camp begins.