Montgomery Talks James Madison
ECU head coach Scottie Montgomery met with the press Monday morning an advance of Saturday's season opener against James Madison scheduled for 6 p.m. in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and is fired up about this week's contest.
The second year Pirate head coach says his team has had a "laser focus" on the start of the new season ever since the Temple game last year.
“They were national champions last year and we think that they have gotten even better and we feel that we have also gotten better," Montgomery said, "We’re talking about a team that had won their final 12 games and the only game that they lost was to UNC. You know that you are dealing with a talented team and a well-coached football team."
"I think that Coach (Mike) Houston has done a wonderful job there. They’ve got the longest active win streak in Division I, they averaged 47.0 points per game and they outscored their opponents 700 to 318. That says everything about who they are as a program right now and for him to come in and selectively take transfers and gel that football team, they are to be commended."
Montgomery outlined what stood out most in his team's preparation for game one dating back from the start of camp to now.
“The amount of guys that are willing to sacrifice for one another is probably what has stood out most. That’s not just players, but that’s coaches too. The way that guys have been willing to fill in. If a guy has to run out for 15 to 30 minutes, no questions asked. So that is one thing that I am going to remember about this camp," Montgomery told PirateIllustrated.com, "The NCAA had an effect on camp with some rule changes and I think that it was a good thing. I think it gave a team like us the chance to really grow the team chemistry rather than always being on the field. Our guys were able to get stronger during camp and that is hard to do. Also, our guys were able to become a lot closer with their coaches.”
Gardner Minshew will start at quarterback for the Pirates according to Coach Mo, but you can also expect former Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk to be used in situations where he can help the team.
Taking care of the football was an issue last season and coming into Saturday, that is one of ECU's biggest concerns along with the way James Madison plays on offense.
“Our biggest concern is operation. When you talk about a team like JMU, offensively what you are going to see is a team that is going to come out and give you a tremendous amount of tempo. They are going to hard count you on first down and third down, which people don’t think about. They just think that you take it for granted that you are going to see some hard counts on third down, but you are talking about a quarterback at the line of scrimmage that can mess up some things operationally," said Montgomery. "So operation is first, before the ball is snapped. That is critical for us. And then yes, we have got to find a way to take care of the football."
"The guy that is running out there for us first at running back, Derrell Scott, he hasn’t put the ball on the ground for us, knock on wood. That is a big deal to us and that is why he is where he is right now".
Wide receiver Trevon Brown remains out for ECU this week but is expected to be cleared on Wednesday or Thursday for contact so you can look to see him next week against West Virginia.
Defensive back Colby Gore should be cleared in the next couple of days to resume contact but shouldn't see action until next week.
Wide receiver Malik Gray is expected to be over his knee injury by the end of this week.
PirateIllustrated.com was there to bring you complete audio from Scottie Montgomery's first ECU press conference of the 2017 season in it's entirety.