Scottie Montgomery breaks down Saturday's road test at Houston

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GREENVILLE, N.C. – Second-year ECU Head Football Coach Scottie Montgomery addressed members of the media on Monday prior to Saturday’s game at Houston. The following are selected comments:

Opening Statement
“It feels like I should be saying welcome back after an open date, it feels like it’s been a long time since I have been all over the country. I am excited to get started back; we had a great practice last night with the team – a lot of people, a lot of energy. We are happy because our injury report doesn’t look like it did a couple of weeks ago. We are going to get the services back of a lot of people we think. Tim Irvin is the one that we are still kind of waiting on with his ankle. We will find out where he is. We have been able to get Deondre Farrier and Marcus Holton back. Raequan Purvis is looking good. Thomas Sirk looked really good last night and Jimmy Williams practiced last night and looked well. We have also been able to help our offensive front since D’Ante [Smith] is back to feeling well so we will get a chance to practice him a little bit more than we have in the past. So we have crossed some huge hurdles. Korrin Wiggins is in his concussion protocol, he should be okay, and he is progressing fine. And Corey Seargent is a guy that we are still watching, hamstring, but he is progressing as well. So we’ve been able to come a long way in an open date and we are really happy with where we are from an injury standpoint.

“Be it as it may, we have to go play a good, really good football team on the road and I think our team is prepared for. We are playing with a lot of confidence right now and practicing with a lot of confidence.”

On Houston’s Defense:
“Offensively, our challenge is going to be none other than Ed Oliver in the defensive front. He’s a really good football player, a five-start recruit I believe last year, who came in and played at a high level, All-American level as a first-year player. He’s playing at that same level this year. A lot of people have tried to game plan him and he has still been able to play at a high level. We are going to have to do a good job with him throwing multiple people at him in our offensive front, plus our tight ends plus our backs, are going to help out all over the field with him. And their secondary, what they are is an experienced group – junior, senior, senior, junior – they’ve replaced No. 14 Isaiah Johnson with No. 18 [Alexander Myres] last game. Both of those guys will probably see a lot of playing time. Both of those guys are rangy guys, they can cover, and I think the biggest difference in the two is I feel they believe that there was a difference in tackling. I think both of them are very similar in talent level.”

On Houston’s Offense:
“Defensively, everything that we did last week and preparing for last week, we kind of got a curve ball by [D’Eriq] King being added to the mix as a quarterback/wide receiver speed-sweep guy. They played him the majority of the game. I really don’t know if that was all game plan versus going down and playing a weather game the way that they played him. I thought it was a really good strategy. It proved to be great for them and he did a lot of things with his feet, but he also scrambled outside of the pocket on the biggest play of the year from them on 4th-and-20 something and was able to complete a ball down the field.

“At the receiver position, they’re long once again and probably a lot more physical than some of the guys we have seen in the past. We have seen quicker guys; these guys are bigger guys. More like the guys we saw at BYU in some situations with some big people that can go out and catch the ball but also some speed as well. I think their offensive front is the anchor of the football team. Their offensive front has a lot of experience there and they did a really good job of getting to the second level. I think their center-guard combo playing on the inside zone and zone read scheme that they are running against people are doing a great job. Now they have added the ability to add the quarterback counter to it which now puts you in a little bit of limbo if you want to play strong side or weak side. But they have done a good job over the last week of really turning the football team in a different direction. As far as the quarterback is concerned, you can tell they spent a lot of time practicing it. But I still think that we can see of No. 3 [Kyle Postma] as well.”

On Houston Attacking The Game Differently After A Big Upset Win Over USF:
“No, I think you go out and you prepare. Try to execute a game plan. We are getting ready for November football and there is a different element of November that is different than September and October. November football you have got to stop the run, you’ve got to be able to run the football, and then the play action pass you’ve got to go out and hit it. So, changing for us is probably no different than them. We know that they are going to grow their offense a little bit over the week now that they have him in for a whole week. We are not going to change too much of what we do, it’s based around personnel not versus them winning the last game.”

On Being Surprised With King Inserted Against USF:
“I’m glad that they did it last week and not this week because it caused South Florida some problems. That’s not what they expected in their game plan. They thought they were going to see him in speed sweep situation and maybe some wildcat, but all of the sudden they are playing zone lead counter, they’re playing run action pass, the boot. So we got a chance to see it early. I thought it was a great strategy and it worked out, but we get a whole week to practice again and we also had a great week of practice for No. 3 [Postma] and now we will get a great week of practice for No. 4 [King].”

On The Continuity Of The Offensive Line Means For ECU:
“If we can keep John [Spellacy] at the center position like we have said at the beginning. If we can just keep him healthy, Garrett [McGhin] plays better at guard. D’Ante [Smith] and Des [Barmore], they can be guys that work together well. The moment that we have to take Garrett from the guard position and put him back at center, it just throws us off balance a little bit. So I think that continuity especially last week going against our defense a lot helped us quite a bit.”

On Being Happy With Where The Bye Week Landed After Adjusting The Schedule:
“Absolutely now. It’s great. It’s a perfect open date, couldn’t ask for a better open date. Ready to go play Houston. For recruiting and everything else, at this point in time I love when the open date happened.”

On Jimmy Williams Practicing:
“He practiced last night and he looked great. So I feel comfortable saying that he’s going to be ready to go this weekend.”

On Tim Irvin’s Impact On The Secondary:
“Sometimes without Tim we don’t get to use our blitz packages as much as we would like to because of his ability to disguise some things and his ability in coverage. But we do have with Devon Sutton is the ability to do a lot. We think that he can play man-to-man in some situations and some underneath man. We also think that he does a really good job in the flats, in the curl zone and does a good job of communicating out there. So there are several things that we would love to have Tim for. Tim was feeling better last week than the week before. He still has a little bit of pain what he is calling Achilles pain in his ankle but we are hopeful that we can get him back. But if not, we feel pretty confident with Sutton right now. He’s starting to get a lot of confidence and playing well with his teammates. And the two games that we’ve won, we’ve won with Sutton. So we feel pretty comfortable with him back there right now.”

On What Coach Prunty Is Stressing Defensively In Trying To Improve The Defense:
“The biggest thing is just doing your job. What happens is sometimes when you get a touchdown back you are not playing as well or you feel there is a gap somewhere else you start to get out of your gap. So one thing he really stresses is to do your job. They pay a lot of attention to the detail of game planning and understanding the game plan. But just realizing that it doesn’t necessarily always take the best talent in the world to win. What it takes are guys that continuously come in and do their job, great character guys being exactly where they are supposed to be doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. So he has done a great job of stressing it and I think it is important for us to continue the momentum from last weekend to this weekend. I think that the way Jordan [Williams] is back and now playing; you will see a lot more of Jordan Williams. His ankle is feeling a lot better; his knee is feeling much better. Jordan can rally the guys in a certain way that the others can’t. And when you are not feeling 50, 60, 70 percent, it’s tough. But I think Coach Prunty has done a good job of making these guys focus on their jobs and no one else’s.”

On A Quarterback Controversy Based On Gardner Minshew’s Fourth Quarter Against BYU:
“Controversy? No. Does it cross my mind to give him a chance in a spot to play the game? Of course it does. Whenever you see a guy go out and play as well as he does there’s room for guys like that to play there is no question. Like I have said from the beginning I’ve got a lot of faith in Gardner, but besides that, I’m not going to say much more about it.”

On The American Athletic Conference Getting The Respect It Deserves:
“No one wants to come in and play in this conference. I’ll say it over and over again. It may not get the respect of the people that are writers and the people that are voting for it but if you ask coaches across the league, we get the respect that we deserve. It’s just hard sometimes when you are constantly reading certain terms or certain things that people have labeled us and we see ourselves as a Power 6 conference. All the teams that play in the NCAA see us as a Power 6 conference but just some of the people that have comments about it don’t. So it is tough selling it there is no question about that. But one thing that I will say is that this is a league that is built around speed and we have got to continue to grow to have as much speed as everybody else. But it’s very evident that we also have got to be ready for a bad weather game, we’ve got to be ready for a snow game, somewhere down the line, be ready for a lot of rain. Those are the things that you will start to see with some of the other schools, especially some of the northern schools, they sometimes get a little bit better at this time of the year in November because they can run and they can stop the run.”

On The Status Of Tyshon Dye:
“Tyshon had to take some time for a personal reason. Hopefully we will have him back and ready to go this week. We will see how that turns back a little bit later in the week, but yeah he should be back.”