GREENVILLE, N.C.(WNCT) – First-year East Carolina University Head Football Coach Scottie Montgomery addressed members of the media on Monday prior to this Saturday’s road game at Virginia Tech. The following are selected comments:
“First, hats off to a good South Carolina football team. Going all the way back to the 1930’s and General Neyland’s (seven) game maxims at the University of Tennessee is something that we read before we take the field. The first one is ‘the team that makes the fewest mistakes, wins,’ and that’s what happened in that game. We talked about some of the penalty discipline after the game. The four turnovers proved to be critical and us not being able to overcome a big storm. I was really, really proud of our team and the way they weathered that 17-0 deficit. I looked into the eyes of our guys on the sideline and everybody was focused on the task at hand. Unfortunately, we just could not come out on top.
“Our defense was led by Demetri McGill, who played a physical game once again. (It was) the second week in a row that he’s played well and played above the line, and also the rest of the defensive line. I thought, defensively, we played pretty good once we stopped the bleeding a little bit there early.
“Offensively, the trips in the red zone is what it came down to. (If) you get any points out of those trips in the red zone and don’t turn the ball over, it’s a completely different game. I’ve got to give a huge shutout to Zay Jones. I’ve never been a part of a game where a guy catches 22 balls. That is unheard of. I don’t think I’ve been a part of a week in practice and game together where a guy has caught that many balls. He’s a phenomenal talent. I’m excited not only to see him this week, but also the rest of his time here and see where his career goes after that. What a fantastic person and for something like that to happen to him was really, really good.
“Overall, you start the game with a penalty and you start the game with a big kickoff return by them, and it put the defense in a bad situation. We liked them to hold their neck there and only gave up three (points). That score kind of started the issue, but the penalty I can almost live with on a horse collar tackle to save a touchdown. But after that, we have to do a better job of maintaining what we do every day in practice and the rules and regulations of a football game.
“Outside of that, I thought our kids played extremely hard from the echo of the whistle, all the way to the echo of the whistle. I thought they did a really good job. As we move forward, we have to understand that those things we did from a mistake standpoint, we were able to see that very easy on tape. When you lose a game like this, you can see the reasons why you lost. Sometimes when you lose games, guys want to look around and try to figure out why we lost. This week it was very clear why we lost.”
On Virginia Tech’s Offense:
“Moving ahead to the Hokies, what a good team they have. Coach Fuente has done a great job putting together a great offense, and that offense has grown from last year to this year as much as any offense, I think, to this point in time. He’s been blessed with some really good players. Jerod Evans, his quarterback, has complete faith in No. 1 (wide receiver Isaiah Ford) and Bucky (Hodges), and those two combined together give them some great talent and weapons in their offense. Also, No. 45 (running back Sam Rogers), he does a good job of giving them position flexibility whether he’s at fullback or tight end. He does a good job of taking you to and from the football, so you can’t lock in on him.”
On Virginia Tech’s Defense:
“Defensively, I mean what can I say? Bud Foster has been doing it for 30 years. I’ve competed against him as a coordinator. There is no one, as a coordinator, who has challenged us as much as he has. It all starts in the back end for him from Mook Reynolds to (Brandon) Facyson to Adonis (Alexander) to everybody that he has back there. It’s been really, really good to watch those guys play so well and grow together. Even Greg Stroman added to the mix gives them one of the best defensive secondary’s in the country. What they’re able to do and put the stress on Facyson, Stroman and Adonis, is keep No. 19 (Chuck Clark) down in the box. He’s done it for a long time. He’s been a free safety, he’s been down in the box – he makes their defense tick. They count on him to be run support, but they count on him to be in coverage. They can cover. This is a football team that can cover your receivers. Then, up front, No. 4 (Ken Ekanem), I hate to say it, but I’ve had a chance to compete against him and he won a lot of those battles. They do a really, really good job offensively, defensively and on special teams. Any time you hold a team like Boston College to a scoreless game, then you know you’re playing a good football team.
“We’ll be prepared. I’m really looking forward to it. Our guys are excited. They understand the problems. We know how to fix it. We will fix it and we’ll move forward getting ready for the Hokies.”
On How The Team Bounced Back At Sunday’s Practice:
“The demeanor was great. Our team is hungry and they understand how hard you have to work to get a chance to win. Those film sessions are the best thing for our team. From day one, we talked about their tape being their walking, talking (and) breathing résumé. The tape showed exactly what the tape showed. The biggest issue is that we had physical errors more than mental errors and guys take that to heart. Coaches really harp on mental errors, but players, if they have a physical error where they turn the ball over from a fumble, or a throw is early or isn’t as hard as we want to make the throw. A lot of those physical errors set with a player, so they were anxious to get out to practice. It had a lot of tempo, a lot of energy. I think our coaches understand how critically important it is for us to move on to the next opponent.”
On 4th-and-1 Defense When South Carolina Audibled:
“Defensively, they did switch it. Our defensive call was the call. I’m not going to say exactly who it was that didn’t necessarily get it, but we would have liked to have the quarterback and a pitch player there.”
On Continuing To Incorporate Crowd Noise In Practices Going Forward:
“We’re going to continue to prepare the way we did. It will be loud again. I hate it for all of our neighbors (close by) here. When we’re on the road, we have to have that noise. They (players) did do a good job. I thought our snap count was good for a majority of the day.”
On The Chess Match Of Preparing For Bud Foster’s Defense:
“I don’t know if I’d call it a chess match. It’s much more physical than a chess match. He just has the ability to jump out of a four-down, to a Bear front, and he uses coverage on you. You don’t know if he’s in man, two-invert or quarters. He just mixes it up. Over the last eight to nine years that I’ve been able to see his defense since I was going against him, he does a good job of changing it up. We have to be ready for the adjustment. It hurts that I’ve gone against him because he knows our adjustments in certain situations and hopefully we’ll be able to know some of his. What a fantastic football coach he is. He knows how I feel about him. I’ve talked to him before and had chances to speak with him during the offseason.”
On How Much The Team Leans On Philip Nelson To Bounce Back:
“We’re going to lean on him hard. You go back and look at the game, he wasn’t our problem. He made a few mistakes, but when you play almost 100 snaps and you have three that you want back, we just have to get everybody battling, all 11 at a time, the same way that he battles for the majority of the time. We’ll get a good understanding of what we have to do moving forward, but we’ll lean on him. He’s a leader and we like our quarterback. We’re very, very comfortable with our quarterback position.”
On The Decision To Run Or Pass At The One-Yard Line:
“That was a run-pass option. Philip had the ability to hand it off or to throw it, and that directly comes from a standpoint of what they do to us and if they pack the box. If you pay close attention to that, they did pack it and they came underneath there. It probably would have been a three or four-yard loss if we handed the ball off there unfortunately. He made the correct decision by throwing it, he just didn’t make the accurate throw. It should have been completed on the back pylon. The guy that came in underneath was in his face a little bit. All of those things connected together, you get zero points right there.”
On Running Back Anthony Scott’s Recent Ball Security Issues:
“I’m not going to talk necessarily to why he did, but there are three things you can do to correct the way that you carry or stop fumbling the football. The first is how you coach it. The second thing is how you carry it. The third thing and how to fix it is you have to play somebody else. Those three things are what you have to look at from a standpoint of protecting the football. We’re going to address every one of those situations. Everyone understands the importance of taking care of the football. There’s nothing we can do right now to give it lip service, but when we’re at the field Tuesday, we’ll make sure we address all three of those.”
On Adjustments Made Against The Read Options Between The NC State Game And Against South Carolina:
“The tight end is taking you to and from the read option. Now by blocking the end and not blocking the end, going across the motion, you’re getting safety play from both sides of the ball which makes it really, really tough. I think we adjusted well to it in the second half. There are just so many ways you can run the read zone and read options. Those are different things that go into it. You have to prepare. If that back jumps on you like he did late and went read zone the opposite way, we’ve got a problem over there as well. That’s why the quarterback has really added a big-time element to college football that no one is talking about. The quarterback is the 11th player that you usually never have to defend in the run game. All of a sudden, with the ability to jump the back and use the back as a lead blocker or the back as a pitch key, now you’re adding a number because your safety is usually seven or eight yards away from the play, even in tight situations.”
On How Many Games He’s Been A Part Of With Three Fumbles Inside The Five Yard-Line:
“Zero. I don’t know if I’ve even watched one where that happened. It hurts, but it lets you know that despite all of that going on our team was tough enough and physical enough and just a good enough football team to win it. Unfortunately, we did not do that. I hope that’s the last time I ever witness a game like that, unless it’s for the other team.”