Montgomery previews showdown with NC State

Published: Sep. 6, 2016 at 12:09 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. – First-year East Carolina University Head Football Coach Scottie Montgomery addressed members of the media on Monday prior to this Saturday's home game against NC State. The following are selected comments:

Opening Statement:

"We're very happy that our kids came out and worked really hard to play a clean football game. Our fans were great. Even in some adverse weather conditions, Pirate Nation still came out and supported us, so we're very appreciative of that.

Western Carolina Game Recap:

"Offensively, we think Philip Nelson had one of the better grading games we've seen a quarterback have. He had only a few (in)completions. One of those was a good (in)completion. When I say 'good (in)completion,' he got the ball out of his hand and stopped us from having a loss-of-yardage play. His weapons came and they did a great job. Zay Jones is a fantastic player. He did some fantastic things with the football and without the football. (It was) a very unselfish game by him. Also – Anthony Scott – I can't say enough about the ways we were able to use him in the offense, whether it was catching it or running it. He did a really good job in perimeter blocking and we worked really hard at that, and Coach (Antonio) King has done a good job making sure he was prepared for that game to the utmost. The shining part of our offense on that night was probably our ability to rush the football. We had a great game rushing and it came from perimeter blocking (and) inside blocking. Our offensive line did a good job. We stayed on some double teams. We did some things you really want to see done from a football standpoint in the run game.

"Defensively, I thought it was a great play down there at the 10 or 11 yard line by Travon Simmons to get that ball and to completely flip the outlook of that drive. Then, what we did there offensively afterward and going to score, it makes the defense feel great that they were able to come up with that turnover. We also learned that we've got some guys on the defensive front that are going to be able to play. We had the ability to play a lot of guys in that front. A couple guys that did make plays were Demetri McGill of course, Justin Brown made a few plays that we were happy to see him make. I think our strongest position on our defense was the production at our middle linebacker spot. Both Jordan (Williams) and Cam (White) had a good game fundamentally (with) technique and they ran to the football. In our secondary, we got to see Colby (Gore). As a young player out there for the first time, that's hard deal to be out there on an island, but he had a couple of plays and did a good job in a lot of situations. He was much more physical than we thought he would be in that first game. The leadership from our safety, (DaShaun) Amos, really showed up. I was very, very impressed with our outside linebacker play from a standpoint of running to the ball and understanding what we do. Our communication was good. It needed to be and it was. It has to continue to grow from a coverage standpoint.

"On special teams, we had one little blunder where we didn't punt the ball well, but that was a culmination of a lot of things in a football game. We had an offensive play where we didn't block it correctly, and then we had a special teams play where didn't punt it correctly, and then we had a defensive series where we didn't play well. So, you have that all combined and it was good for our team to learn and see how that works together."

On NC State:

"Moving forward, looking at NC State, we're looking at a really, really good football team with a lot of talent and a great coach. Coach (Dave) Doeren has done a great job with his team. We watched them on tape. They look like a big-time football team.

"On defense, Coach Ryan Nielsen has done a great job on their defensive line. They are as stout as we will see, and we look forward to that challenge. I can't say enough about them at the linebacker position. They have some veteran leadership there and a big-time player, but in his defense, you have to start with the defensive line. (Bradley) Chubb has been there and he knows he's a great leader in that front. That's going to be a battle for us. In the secondary, they have some experience there with (Jack) Tocho. The first time I saw Tocho was when I first got back from the National Football League and I was out recruiting in the spring. He had already decided to go to NC State and he was working out, out back. He's a physical specimen and he puts in the effort when you watch him on tape. He's putting in the effort in the classroom, too. He's a good player and an anchor back there at times for them.

"All in all, we're going against a really good defense and then offensively, what you see is speed. Number one, (Jaylen) Samuels, he can play it all. He'll be lined up in the end-line situations at tight end, he'll be in the slot, they can put him at (full)back and quarterback. They have a lot of position flexibility with him. In the slot, another kid that's a native of North Carolina, Nyheim Hines, is fast and will present us some challenges running vertical seams. At quarterback, they've done a good job bringing in a person that understands the offense. He was on fire last week. He didn't miss but about three or four throws, so it's a challenge as well on defense and I think we will be up to it. We just have to have a great week of communication practice and work."

On The Hopefulness Of Having Wide Receiver Trevon Brown Back In The Lineup:

"I'm very hopeful. I won't be speculating to say anything more than that. We'll have a better grasp and understanding of it on Wednesday of this week."

On If The Players Are Amped Up A Little More For The Rivalry Game:

"We've kind of been amped up for a long time now. To be in front of our fans, we're going to try to make this about us and not so much the opponent we're playing. We do understand and feel the gravity of the moment. This is a big-time matchup. I've been in the Triangle a lot of my life, so I understand the importance of winning in-state games and being around in-state opponents (that are) so close. We'll be focused and ready to go. We had a great practice last night on the field. There was a lot a lot of juice and a lot of energy in that practice. You can really get a lot better from wins. People think you collect a lot of information from a loss and you come back and get better, but if you're really good at coaching, wins provide you an opportunity to coach even harder and really dissect everything that you didn't do and would have liked to have done. We're energized right now and feel the gravity of the moment."

On Former Players On Staff Like Damon Magazu Helping Current Players With Understanding The Rivalry:

"We'll use a lot of motivating factors going forward this week. There are a lot of things that we have in store for our guys, but we're not going to get so far off the path. This is our journey. It's just another leg of the journey, just like last week was a leg. We're going to make sure that our kids are ready for the football game. We're not going to go overboard with this. Our kids know what's going on. They understand how hard they've worked since January. No one else has been out there working with them. They've been working with each other. We'll use some team indoctrinations from inside our team that will be very helpful."

On Familiarity Coaching Against NC State:

"We've been against them a few times, but it has actually been a while because of the realignment. It's going to be a big-time atmosphere. The physicality and speed is what we have to get prepared for. We've been in this battle before and we know that our guys will take the step that they need to take this week. We have to get better and that's where we'll start. We have to do the things that require no physical talent. That's what we have to be great at this week."

On Preparing For Jaylen Samuels By Simulating With James Summers:

"We think that we have some body types that we're practicing with, but there is no way we're going to be able to give the exact look. Our guys are going to have to be detailed in the way that we're preparing and Kenwick Thompson will do a good job of making sure we get multiple looks. He's physical, he can catch it (and) he can run it. It's going to be a hard task, but we're going to make sure we juice our show team and they'll give us a good show."

On The Left Tackle Situation With Justin Sandifer and Messiah Rice:

"Well, Messiah has earned the position from the spring, through fall camp and until now. He'll come back and he will be back at the position of left tackle. Sandifer has earned the right to play, so he knows that at any time he could be the guy that is in there. It's always a competition, but we feel pretty good about where Messiah is and look forward to welcoming him back, as well as Demage (Bailey) to the defensive line."

On Worries About Playing In A Potentially Hot Weather Environment Saturday Afternoon:

"Our practice time is appropriate. We are out there in the four o'clock range and it will be hot. We had a camp where we spent the majority of our time in that part of the day because we know that we play here in Eastern North Carolina. It's a different type of weather, even from anywhere else that we've been before. We've done that in preparation that we would play a noon game or a hot game somewhere along the way. We have to stay hydrated all week so that when we get to Saturday, there are no shocks."

On Who He Heard From To Congratulate Him On His First Win:

"A lot of coaches reached out to me. I'm not going to start naming them because I surely will leave somebody out. Probably one of the first text messages I got, I don't know what he was doing at that time of the day, was Bruce Arians (Arizona Cardinals Head Coach). Right after that, they all started rolling in. It was a good time."