Montgomery answers tough questions about job security at ECU

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

Opening Statement:

“We’re coming off of a tough defeat by Cincinnati, who is a great football team. Not to take anything away from them, I thought we played completely below the line in every aspect of the game. But the easiest way to spit out the taste we have in our mouth from going against Cincinnati would be to play against the NC State Wolfpack. We’re really happy that we get a chance to end the season with an opportunity to play against what I think is probably their best team. At least in recent history that we’ve seen or had a chance to play against them.

“In the Cincinnati game, I thought we put way too much on several people throughout the game. We’ve got to continue to play better at the quarterback position. We’d like to play better, but it was a situation where, I’ll never take up or make excuses for any of our guys, but Holton (Ahlers) went out and battled the entire time he was out there. He was not healthy and we put way too much on him. We’ve got to have everyone else step up a heck of a lot more in our offensive front, in our backfield and in our receivers to give all of us the best chance we can possibly have to win football games. I thought the first part of the game, defensively, looked a lot like it did against UConn. The problem was, offensively, we didn’t answer those scores that they had and we needed to be able to do that to give our defense a chance to be able to adjust. Toughness on our team right now, I think that we’re playing tough with the people that are injured. Aaron Ramseur, Holton Ahlers, Peyton Winstead, they’re playing extremely tough right now. What I would like to see from our football team is that the guys that are not injured to play at a high level of toughness – mental and physical toughness. That’s exactly what we hope to find this weekend as we continue to play young people and new people in our lineup.”

On NC State:

“NC State is a tremendously talented team. Defensively in their front seven, they’re as big and strong and can run as well as any of the teams that we’ve seen. Offensively, their quarterback position is as accurate as anyone we’ve gone against and they’re receivers are as talented as anybody we’ve gone against. So, we’re going to have to do a good job of being mobile on defense. At the same time, using our base to create some plays for us defensively and then offensively, we’ve really got to take care of the football in this football game. I think that is the biggest key to this game. If we can go to Raleigh and take care of the football, we will be fine. Some of our turnovers last week were very unfortunate. But I think that is the number one key to this game, taking care of the football. I think that we’re going to create some matchup problems at the defensive end position. We’ve got to continue to play better there. But, I do feel that if we take care of the football, we have a great opportunity against the NC State Wolfpack.”

On Talks With Dr. Cecil Stanton Or Dave Hart About Job Security:

“If I’ve had any conversations, those are private conversations.”

On Whether Results Deserve Another Year And On The Faith Of Pirate Nation:

“That’s something that I don’t know. Like you said, it’s an opinion and I don’t want to get into opinions. My opinion is that I’m going to go work as hard as I can this week to make sure that we have an opportunity to beat the NC State Wolfpack. The other part, it’s hard for me to say too because I don’t know every single person in Pirate Nation.”

On Frustrations On Not Reaching Promise Of A Bowl Game:

“Yeah, we haven’t. That’s the truth, it’s frustrating for a lot of reasons. We’re frustrated because we feel like we have some players that can play at a high level, unfortunately they’ve been injured. We feel that we have some young guys coming on and playing well. They haven’t been able to do it at the same time. At the end of the day, that’s what our job is to do, to make all of that happen. Some of the things that we wanted to get done away from the field, haven’t had the chance to get some of those things done. We hopefully will get some of those things done in the future. Gives us and our kids a better opportunity to be successful. Those are the things that are frustrating. Not just what happens on Saturday, but a lot of things that go on year round that we can do better and hopefully we will do better.”

On Confidence Level On Being The Coach After This Week:

“It really doesn’t matter what my confidence level is. The biggest deal is the way that we come out and prepare this week. If my confidence level grows and falls, it never does. I’m still the same guy that I was when I came and took this job. We’re going to work our butt off. Our job is to do one thing, to make sure that we put a better product on the field. But at the same time, making sure that the things off the field get corrected. We still have a ways to go there, but we’ve done a good job there and that’s what we’re going to continue working towards.”

On Treating This Week Like A Bowl Game:

“No, this is a regular season game. We haven’t earned the right to say something is a bowl game. That’s something for people who earn it. You’ve got to earn the right to say you’re in a bowl week. We don’t dangle carrots in front of people or do anything like that. This is a regular season game against an instate rival. No different than UNC and the rest of the instate rivals that we have an opportunity to play.”

On How Much The Health Of The Team Is A Concern:

“It’s always a concern. It’s really a big concern. One of the reasons why we’re probably where we are is because of the health of certain people. Cut to the chase, in the third quarter of that game (Cincinnati) you were looking out there at your third-string center, a non-scholarship guy when he came into it and trying to work his way into the lineup at the guard position. A right tackle that was a backup. Your right tackle had to move over to left tackle. The left guard is in a position where he was injured three weeks ago and he has been working so hard, so tough to be as good as he can be. Injuries are always a main concern. You look at Aaron Ramseur battling through everything he’s battled through and losing Ray Tillman. The reason why Aaron Ramseur is playing hurt is because Ray Tillman was out for the game and is out for this game. So, injuries are always a concern, but it’s a concern. We can’t let it stop us from going and getting ready to play a game so that’s what we’re doing.”

On Whether It’s Fair To Be A 24-Point Underdog To NC State:

“I definitely don’t get into the odds making in Vegas. As far as the point assessment, I’m sure there’s some kind of great reason for all the ways they give point assessments. But we’ve been an underdog before and we’ve won. We’ve been going against an underdog and lost. So, I can’t put a lot of thought into that. I really don’t know how people come up with it. But we’ll be ready to play.”

On How Injuries Affect Practice:

“We’ll be in full pads tomorrow. The extra day did help us. The Saturday, they needed to have that time. We had a lot of guys that really needed Saturday. We practiced last night and that went well. So, then we have a day off today. Tomorrow we’ll be in full pads and we’ll go hard in full pads. Some guys won’t go, we’ll restrict some guys. We’ve got a lot of little dings that can’t go in the physical contact part of practice and they’ll get the non-physical contact part of practice and we’ll go from there.”

On How Emotional This Week Will Be:

“Very emotional. Anytime you have 18 guys that are about to walk out, walk into the real world and leave a lot of their brothers, leave a lot of the people that they’ve lived with for a long time, it’s always going to be emotional.”

On What The Difference Is Between Cincinnati And ECU Staff’s:

“I don’t know. It’s a hard question because I don’t know what they’re doing inside their program. I know what we’re doing inside of ours. I know where we were as I did look, it wasn’t surprising to me. As you look at Cincinnati over the past 10 years, they’ve won in the Big East, they’ve won even in our conference. So, we’ve got to do a better job of getting to that level. Right now, it’s not a situation where I can tell you whether or not we deserve to have what they have or don’t deserve to have what they have.”

On Whether Winning Against NC State Would Earn Him Another Year:

“It’s not a point where I say we’ve done enough. Because if we had won nine games, that still would not have been enough for me. Personally, like I said when I first came here, we came here to win championships. We haven’t been able to do that for a lot of reasons and I’m one of the reasons. That’s the first level of it, accountability. But I do think that as you look into the whole of it, there are some things that all of us can do better and we will do better to make sure we have a better chance at not only winning this week, but into the future.”

On Whether He Plans To Play Tyler Snead:

“Yes.”

On Kingsley Ifedi’s Status:

“He’s not in the mix in the quarterback room.”