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Williams: Individuality hurting Pirates

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West Virginia safety Kyzir White (8) tackles East Carolina wide receiver Trevon Brown (88) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)

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By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, September 9, 2017

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Jimmy Williams is only one man, but he might be the key to an East Carolina football turnaround thanks to his focus on team and not individual.

In last week’s season-opening loss to James Madison, the senior wide receiver argued with teammates on the sideline as the Pirates got off to a rough start that ended up lasting the full 60 minutes. On Saturday at West Virginia, he did most of his damage on the field with a team-high seven catches.

But no one knows more than Williams that those numbers are irrelevant in a 56-20 blowout loss and an 0-2 start to the season. He thinks not everyone on his team is showing up to play, and he remained unafraid to say so.

“I think that we prepared very good coming into the game, but once things went live, we just didn’t play well, the same way we did last week,” said Williams, who along with fellow receiver Trevon Brown made a touchdown catch in the second half when the game was out of reach. “I feel like we were prepared for the game but when we got here I feel like guys again, they just weren’t doing their job.”

Williams said he did not believe there was a big talent gap between the Mountaineers (1-1) and Pirates.

The disparity, he said, came in a lack of execution by ECU and nearly flawless execution by WVU.

“You see their guys out there, they’re doing their job, every single one of them,” Williams said of WVU. “We can’t have one guy not do their job every play. We need all 11 of them to do it. I feel like that’s not what guys did.”

After the game, ECU head coach Scottie Montgomery said similar things. He said getting the team regrouped and into a winning mindset is mostly on players, and he singled out Williams as one of the team leaders he knows will help with that.

Minutes later, Williams had already begun that process.

“We had a great game plan. We had guys open out there. We just didn’t execute at the times we needed it,” Williams said. “The defense needed us to hold the ball longer, but we didn’t do that. We didn’t do our job like we’re supposed to and that’s what killed us in this game.”

While some postgame Pirates were focused on the perceived improvement in the second half, which began with ECU trailing by 46 points, Williams was concerned.

Acknowledging the talented WVU team, the one-time walk-on receiver from Washington said his team did not play hard enough when it counted.

“You’ve got to compete. You’ve got to execute, and I feel like that’s what we didn’t do,” he said. “Certain players might not be ready for game time, honestly. That’s not a coaching thing. The players have to do that. They have to have it in their hearts and their minds.”

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.