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Pirates connect through FaceTime

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East Carolina football coach Scottie Montgomery looks on from the sideline during a win against North Carolina on Sept. 8 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Monday, September 17, 2018

The use of FaceTime on phones has been invaluable for the East Carolina football team, which avoided the direct hit of Hurricane Florence when it left for Orlando, Fla., last Wednesday but in many ways still is dealing with the aftermath.

That is especially true for players who have family in Wilmington and other flooded areas in southeastern North Carolina.

“Just being able to connect (with their families) through the phone has given our guys a certain level of ease,” ECU third-year coach Scottie Montgomery said Monday during the American Athletic Conference coaches teleconference. “The overwhelming part of it, I thought, is that our parents were so relieved that their kids were in a safe place. That was the biggest deal that we got from all of our parents.

“Before maybe there were times where they didn’t know what was going on, but this time I thought we did a good job communicating to our parents and to the people connected to our student-athletes to let them know exactly what was going on.”

The team bused from Greenville to Orlando last Wednesday.

Balance remains key for the Pirates (1-1), who will remain in Orlando through Thursday night at the Rosen Centre Hotel and continue to practice at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in preparation for beginning conference play Saturday night against South Florida (3-0) in Tampa at 8 p.m.

Montgomery said the team is trying to keep this week’s schedule as normal as possible as it operates remotely and far from Greenville. Practices will be held in the morning.

ECU is set to resume classes Wednesday morning.

“Monday for us is usually an off day for our kids, and tomorrow morning we’ll go just like we normally would go with a morning practice and Wednesday will be a morning practice,” Montgomery said. “We’ll do everything the way we normally would do it. Of course we have study hall built in throughout the week and we’ll try and build it and try to keep it the exact way we would have if we were in Greenville.”

Montgomery also was asked about some of the drama that unfolded on Twitter and elsewhere with last week’s game at Virginia Tech being canceled.

ECU announced Tuesday afternoon that none of its teams would travel to games the rest of the week. Then in a statement released by Virginia Tech, the Hokies confirmed ECU’s plans not to travel to Blacksburg, Va., and said they wanted to wait until Wednesday to determine a status for the contest.

Fans and others expressed that they viewed Virginia Tech’s response as insensitive to the situation.

“Our guys are ready to play this week and singularly focused on the game against USF,” Montgomery said. “As soon as that game was canceled, we had to move our thoughts on to South Florida and a very good football team. … This is something that is a lot bigger than just a couple of tweets, and our kids’ families are directly tied to (Hurricane Florence) and our kids were directly connected to it, so it’s something that is unfortunate that happened but I really don’t have a comment on those.”

Another afternoon start

The AAC announced Monday that the Pirates’ home game against Old Dominion on Sept. 29 will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and be available to stream on ESPN3.

ECU’s last game was Sept. 8 at 3:30, ending in a 41-19 victory for ECU over North Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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