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Montgomery: ECU confident despite start

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ECU's head coach Scottie Montgomery watches players during practice on Aug. 22, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Monday, September 11, 2017

Despite a disastrous 0-2 start to the football season, East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery said Monday his team regrouped and rejuvenated itself quickly following Saturday’s 56-20 loss at West Virginia.

The Pirates can do little else, as No. 16 Virginia Tech rides into town this Saturday for a 3:30 clash in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

“We’re pretty confident right now after (Sunday) night,” Montgomery, who on Sunday evening announced the removal of defensive coordinator Kenwick Thompson, said at Monday’s weekly media address. “We had to go through a lot (Sunday) and I thought defensively, we had a great meeting. Offensively, I thought our coaches did a good job. They pulled all the positives from the game. We went in a completely different light. We tried to correct all the negatives.”

The Pirates are facing an additional crisis, as starting quarterback Thomas Sirk was following required concussion protocol on Monday along with defensive back Colby Gore following a big hit Sirk took against the Mountaineers.

Backup ECU passer Gardner Minshew helped to author one of the game’s better moments for the Pirates when he connected with Trevon Brown for a 95-yard touchdown in the second half, the longest TD pass play in school history.

But Montgomery said Sirk is still his man.

“Both of them have been in (both games) and at times both have looked great. Gardner came in at the end and looked great, and I thought Thomas was real gutsy throughout the game,” Montgomery said. “Right now, Thomas is still our starting quarterback unless something changes, and then we’ll move forward with it.”

Montgomery lamented what he said was a slow start on defense at WVU as the Pirates’ fell behind by school record 49-3 by halftime, yet it’s his offense which has produced just one field goal in two first halves combined this season.

The ECU coach said he nonetheless maintains his faith in second-year offensive coordinator Tony Petersen.

“I have become more involved in (play-calling) as of late,” Montgomery said. “But for the most part, Tony is still ... I’ve got nothing but trust and faith in what we do. What we’ve got to do is get on the same page in making plays. Everybody just has to play together.”

Injuries

In addition to the two concussions, defensive end senior Randall Anderson, junior offensive lineman Brandon Pena and freshman wide receiver Blake Proehl remain out for this week’s game against the Hokies.

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

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