mad coach mo

Coach Scottie Montgomery on the sidelines of a game.

East Carolina University is in the midst of an uphill battle against Temple University, as the football team will be fighting to stay ahead in the American Athletic Conference. The game will be the annual “Paint it Black” event for Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, and the athletes as well as the fans, will be in all black for the game.

Sitting at 1-1 in the AAC, the Pirates will kickoff their matchup with the Owls at noon. In order to stay a competitor in the conference they need to focus on winning this game in an attempt to win out in conference to improve on their poor record to start the season (1-4).

Head coach Scottie Montgomery said he knows his athletes competed at a high level for three quarters of the South Florida game, but understands in order to defeat Temple his team needs to play a full game.

“We put up a fight until late in the third quarter and we were competitive in the game. I saw it from a lot of people,” Montgomery said in his weekly press conference. “Moving ahead to Temple, another good football team in our conference, they are moving into more of an 11-personnel team that uses a little bit more spread.”

Temple’s quarterback Logan Marchi, has the possible potential to pose a threat to ECU’s secondary. In the Pirates’ last game they were faced with multiple one-on-one situations that put the defensive backs on their heels.

The Owls could take advantage of the poor rush defense by ECU, with the Pirates giving up an average of 297 yards per game on the ground.

“Looking at Temple to prepare for next week, we watched film. They have good defensive players and offensive players that are fast,” running back Hussein Howe said.

After two solid performances from the Pirate offense against the University of Connecticut and USF, Montgomery’s sure his team will be prepared with Thomas Sirk in good condition.

“He’s (Sirk) doing well. We had a great day of practice,” Montgomery said. “So we have learned to practice him a little bit differently than I did back then (at Duke). We think we have a great plan moving forward to keep him healthy.”

Thanks to the great play of quarterback Sirk, wide receiver Davon Grayson and running back Darius Pinnix, the Pirate offense have a glimpse of what they could be. With the team beginning to settle into conference at 1-1, the Pirates will have to continue to compete in the AAC.

“They (Sirk, Grayson and Pinnix) just played at a high level; physical and gave everything they had on every snap,” Montgomery said. “This is an offense with Thomas Sirk leading it. If we continue to grow it with our execution, it can be a very special group moving forward.”

Montgomery hinted that Pinnix may see more playing time after USF’s game. Montgomery praised his recruit for being relentless and not shying away from contact. Pinnix was most effective in the USF game for his blocking for Sirk and on short yardage runs, Montgomery also mentioned in his press conference.

Last season, the Pirates lost to the Owls late in the season, 37-10. Now, New York Jets running back Jahad Thomas, who played for Temple last season, had 24 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns. The Owls defense held the Pirates to only 225 yards in the game.

“Temple doesn't do a lot of different stuff on defense, but what they do they do well. We know what we are going to get,” offensive lineman Garrett McGhin said. “We are going to get some blitz’s off the edge, so we just have to make sure we stick to our rules and pick everything up.”

Most of the players on the team still have high spirits for their season. Howe said that captain Gardner Minshew and Sirk are doing a great job at keeping the team upbeat.

“We got some things going in a positive direction and I think we got some things we got to fix,” offensive coordinator Tony Petersen said. “Obviously we would like our record to be better, but we are (1-1) in the league right now and we just lost to probably one of the best or maybe the best team in the league”

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