Following yet another 3-9 season for the East Carolina University football team in 2017, its second in two seasons under head coach Scottie Montgomery, Montgomery made a bold prediction: the Pirates will reach the postseason in 2018.
“I haven't made a whole lot of guarantees since I got here, but we’ll be a better football team, and we are going to play in the postseason next year,” Montgomery said following one of the ugliest losses in recent memory, a 70-13 beat down at the hands of American Athletic Conference opponent University of Memphis.
While the timing of that comment is pretty humorous, Montgomery likely sees the writing on the wall, and this could very well be his last chance to make the program his. If he does not fulfill his prediction, it's time to end the Montgomery era.
Jeff Compher, the ECU athletic director responsible for firing beloved former head coach Ruffin McNeil and bringing Montgomery in, has been bought out. ECU is in the process of finding a new athletic director, and Montgomery will likely have one year to prove he is worthy of bringing the Pirates back to being a well respected program.
The defense under Montgomery in 2017 was at or near the bottom of nearly every single statistical category, and that must change if Montgomery wants his team to make the postseason. Along with a poor defense from a year ago, Montgomery also lost his top two quarterbacks from a year ago and will have to depend on the winner of the camp quarterback battle between sophomore Reid Herring, freshman Holton Ahlers and redshirt freshman Kingsley Ifedi to lead the Pirates to the postseason.
The team is mostly an inexperienced bunch, and faces an extremely tough schedule this year with non-conference games against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Virginia Tech University, as well as AAC games against conference powerhouses University of South Florida, University of Central Florida and University of Memphis.
While it is encouraging to hear Montgomery be so confident in his team, in year three, it is time for some results. For the sake of Pirate Nation, let’s hope Montgomery’s prediction is true, and he cements his place as head coach for years to come. If not, this program needs to come back to relevance, and if changes are necessary, they must be done.
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