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Montgomery: Crowd not a factor

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East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery talks to an official during a game against Temple on Oct. 7, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

East Carolina head football coach Scottie Montgomery said Monday his focus is solely on what is happening on the field with his 1-5 team, not the lack of fans in the surrounding seats in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Attendance dipped to just more than 31,000 for last Saturday’s 34-10 loss to Temple, but the Pirate coach said he cannot take his eyes away from a team in need of a victory. Further, he said the crowd should not ultimately affect the outcome of a game.

“I really wasn’t focused on it too much,” Montgomery said at his weekly news conference of the smallest crowd since 2005. “I had heard that sometimes fall break is a certain way. But I’ve played in stadiums with a lot less people and won games. As far as that’s concerned, we’ve got to handle our business on the field, and that’s what I told each one of these coaches and these players, that if that bothers you then you’re in the wrong profession.”

After the Pirates’ game this Saturday at Central Florida, ECU (1-2 American Athletic Conference) returns home for the fifth of seven home games against BYU.

When the Pirates do return, Montgomery stressed he doesn’t want anyone on his sideline thinking about the crowd or turning into spectators themselves.

“You’re supposed to be coaching. You’re not supposed to be spectating to see what’s going on outside the field,” said Montgomery, whose team kicks off against the No. 22 Knights at 7 p.m. on Saturday. “If you’re watching that then you’re watching the wrong thing. Our fans will come, they’ll show and they’ll cheer. We’ve got to do our part, and that’s play and coach.”

Official word

Montgomery continued to harp on his team’s discipline — the Pirates committed 96 yards worth of penalties in their 34-10 loss to Temple last week — but also commented on the frustrating process of reviewing the calls from the previous game.

The frustration is twofold in that part of the video shows undisciplined plays and part shows missed calls by officials.

“I got to go back and look at some of the penalties on tape, and you don’t necessarily agree with some of the things that happen on tape, or the calls, but you still have to coach through it,” Montgomery said. “So we’re still going to push discipline, and guys that have discipline penalties, they have to pay a price. We’re going to play the people that are the most disciplined.”

And/or

The ECU depth chart is littered with the word “or” this week, meaning there are numerous positions with as yet undetermined starters. That would seem to reflect the above idea of playing the most disciplined players, but Montgomery said it is mostly about an array of injuries.

Freshman center John Spellacy (knee) remains questionable, which in turn keeps the offensive line in flux. Sophomore tackle/guards D’Ante Smith and Cortez Herrin are also nicked. Neither are listed on the depth chart.

Sophomore safety Tim Irvin limped heavily of the field after the Temple game and continues to suffer from an ankle injury, and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Raequan Purvis left the field on a cart.

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

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