Scottie Montgomery breaks down Saturday's clash with Temple

Published: Oct. 2, 2017 at 4:44 PM EDT
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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 home game against Temple. The following are selected comments:

Opening Statement:

“We put up a fight until late in the third quarter and we were competitive in the game. I saw it from a lot of people, but after that we have got to make sure that everybody is competing at the same level that some of the guys I’m going to talk about competed at. I saw a few people who showed true Pirate toughness throughout the game on. On offense, Davon Grayson, Thomas Sirk and Darius Pinnix just played at a high level, physical and gave everything they had on every snap. I think this is an offense with Thomas Sirk leading it, if we continue to grow it with our execution; it can be a very special group moving forward. Which is like I said, we have got to get everybody competing at the highest level every single play.

“Defensively, some of those guys that show that toughness, the bright spot on our defense were Aaron Ramseur, Alex Turner and Colby Gore. I thought their speed placed our guys and it shouldn’t have. Our guys were on their heels, which made us a little bit more vulnerable to cut blocking. I thought the biggest story on our defense was at the junction points and usually all of them are junction points of cut blocks. We have got to continue to grow the way that we coach those junction points and we have got to play them a lot better. I give a lot of credit to USF, they are a senior lead team with some great talent, but when we get into the third and fourth quarter of games we have got to play much better than we did.”

On Temple:

“Moving ahead to Temple, another good football team in our conference. First-year coach, Coach Collins, is transitioning what they did before. Offensively, what they are doing is they have been a lot more 12 and 21 personnel, but now they are moving into more of an 11-personnel team that uses a little bit more spread. It looks like they are changing and growing from last year to this year and what they want to get done on the offense. Defensively, they’re very physical up front. They have guys that can run in the back end in No. 3 [Sean Chandler] and No. 2 [Delvon Randall] – both are great open field tacklers. They did have some graduation on defense that definitely changed their team a little bit, but they still have the same physical toughness that they had last year.”

On Improving Defensively After Watching USF Film:

“I just think that the biggest thing that we have got to go out on the practice field and do is to execute, like I said, the junction points. We are starting to get guys exactly where they are supposed to be. We had one-on-one situations on the perimeter, we had one-on-one situations on the inside, and they ran us over a couple of times. But I think that if we fundamentally get in better positions to tackle them it would have been different. I really do think that the speed, the overall team speed of USF, put us on our heels when we shouldn’t have been. We should have been much more aggressive. What we are going to do in practice is try and give our defense as many great looks at speed, even from our No. 1 receiver, No. 2 receiver and No. 3 receiver. We are going to put as much speed as we can on the field and put them in space to make sure they can get to the spot.”

On Being Concerned With Other Players’ Efforts:

“It’s not more of a concern about the effort of others, it’s more about me shining the light on guys that played with the true pirate spirit. The ones that when I came and played against these guys [ECU] in 1999, those guys that were flying around. They may have not been the tallest or the biggest, and I want to recognize those guys because I thought that when they went against the opponent across from them every single snap, they tried to dominate the opponent.”

On Seeing A Lot More Of Darius Pinnix:

“We are going to see a lot more of him. He had a lot more plays in this last game than he had the week before. His mental errors were down in practice and he is carrying the ball great in practice. He made a great play over on the sideline that was relentless. What you didn’t see and what a lot of people don’t talk about is all of those iso-lead plays with Thomas Sirk on third and one. That was Pinnix in there going against their best linebacker knowing he was going to get fit on him every single time and he didn’t shy away from contact, not one time. So we love to see him more.”

On Extra Motivation After Finishing Last Season With A Loss To Temple:

“We are just motivated to get into the conference and get another conference win. That is what our motivation is right now. We talked about the conference a lot, this conference is changing and you can see the changes all over the conference. There is some transitioning and some staffs which always changes some of the play and the way that some of the guys are playing and the scheme. So we are just really concentrating on getting another conference victory.”

On Sirk Bouncing Back After A Physical Game:

“He’s doing well. We had a great day of practice last night and we haven’t seen the effects of that at all, but we are also a lot smarter with him. The way we practiced him when was 20, 21 years old is a lot different now especially in the running department. The first time he gets hit is usually during some of these games whereas everybody else its physical all week for backs and for the offensive line. So we have learned to practice him a little bit differently than I did back then [at Duke]. Back then he wanted all the snaps in practice to be physical because he wanted to be able to get on the edge of the defenders. Now we practice him a lot different. We think we have a great plan moving forward to keeping him healthy.”

On The Status Of John Spellacy & Garrett McGhin:

“I do not know [if Spellacy will be available] right now. Garret, he worked last night, he was full go so I don’t think we will have any problems with him playing unless something changes over the next three or four days. He looked great last night.”

On the Remaining Injury Updates:

“It looks like we will have [Corey] Seargent back in practice tomorrow. We will limit what he does but he will be back and able to go fully in practice. Tim Irvin moved through individuals last night and hopefully we will have him back. He is still not where he needs to be from the eye test, but Corey will be back.”

On Vocal Leadership Amongst The Players:

“I think it will continue to grow. I think the one person that is vocal on the team is probably Thomas Sirk. Stephen Baggett has started to do a little bit better job of that. I think Thomas had to get a little bit more comfortable with people. Last night we saw a comfortable Thomas at practice when guys didn’t get quite lined up as quickly as he wanted them to. So I think there are probably some conversations between Baggett, Thomas Sirk and other people on the team that they do need some vocal leadership, especially when they feel like they have a chance to be pretty good at certain spots. So we do need a little bit more of that and I am sure it will grow as the season continues.”