CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCT) – Friday afternoon saw the 2017 ACC Kickoff Event come to a close at the Westin Hotel in the Queen City. The second day of the two day event was for the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Surprisingly, the Coastal has many ties to the East Carolina football team. One of those ties is former Pirate quarterback, Kurt Benkert who is now entering his second year with the University of Virginia. Benkert said that when he left Greenville he took a certain attitude to Charlottesville.
“Being at ECU really helps put a chip on your shoulder,” said Benkert. “Being able to play all these kind of big schools and being the underdog in a lot of situations and being able to prevail pretty successful which we were pretty successful at ECU doing that. So kind of that mentality that you go into any game and expect to win it regardless of whose the opponent, I think that has kind of help me build who I am.”
A “big school” that ECU has had success against in the past is the reigning Costal Division Champs, Virginia Tech. The Pirates will host the Hokies on Saturday, Sept. 16. Tech head coach Justin Fuente is not lost on the fact that the Hokies have struggled in the past in Greenville.
“East Carolina, as long as I can remember has had fantastic coaches and they have always played well vs. the ACC teams or whoever it is on their schedule, they’ve never shied away from scheduling those games and they’ve won quite a few of them,” said Fuente. “We’ve got to go on the road and it’s been a little while since Virginia Tech has won on the road at East Carolina and we will have to play really well to give ourselves a chance. I have a tremendous amount of respect for that program in general.”
The likely starter for the Pirates heading into the 2017 season will be Duke transfer, Thomas Sirk. When asked about his former QB, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe, had nothing but good things to say about current ECU signal caller.
“Thomas Sirk is somebody that is so consistent in his life, such a good person, quality. As a football player he’s a guy that can beat you a lot of ways, he can throw it, he can run it he can pose his will, he’s that kind of person. No question that Coach Montgomery and his team have a shot at being better with Thomas Sirk at quarterback.”
Scottie Montgomery and select Pirate players will head to Providence, RI next week to participate in the American Athletic Conference’s media day. The Pirates open the season Sept. 2 when they host reigning FCS National Champion James Madison.