With ECU at 0-3 entering this week's game against UConn, Scottie Montgomery says he's in the middle of a humbling process.
"If you haven't had a struggle in life, you better get ready," Montgomery said on Monday.
Montgomery plans a number of lineup changes coming into a rare Sunday game that was facilitated by Hurricane Irma and the schedule changes it created in Florida.
The biggest change is Thomas Sirk will once again start under center for the Pirates. Coach Mo says Gardner Minshew competed at a high level on Saturday at quarterback but he likes Sirk's ability to scamper out of the pocket and feels ECU will need an additional run threat to make opposing defenses account more for the quarterback.
Other moves find Messiah Rice back in the lineup at left offensive tackle, Raequan Purvis will start at defensive tackle and Gaelin Elmore will get his first ECU start at defensive end.
Cannon Gibbs will start at the Will linebacker position for ECU, Corey Seargent is set to start at field cornerback and Colby Gore is likely to start at the boundary corner in front of Chris Love who got picked on quite a bit in the Virginia Tech passing game last Saturday.
Montgomery said his team's difficulties against Virginia Tech weren't as much a matter of the Hokies' adjustments as the fact that they just made more plays on the ball on defense. He didn't see that much in the way of offensive adjustments either.
Connecticut lost last week 38-18 at Virginia. The Huskies will employ a 3-3 stack defense. Montgomery says you have to be mindful of their cornerbacks who will press and play very aggressively. He likes the play of Vonte Diggs at linebacker who he says does a good job of moving from sideline to sideline while stuffing plays in the middle of the UConn defense.
Offensively, the Pirates will need to be mindful of veteran quarterback Bryant Sherreffs who can both run and pass. Arkeel Newsome and Nate Hopkins present concerns at running back along with Alec Bloom at tight end.
Injury wise, ECU safety Tim Irvin was in a boot after the game and didn't practice on Sunday, but Montgomery says to he should be alright by Sunday. Also offensive lineman Garrett McGhin had an ankle stepped on by a Virginia Tech offensive lineman and experienced a great deal of swelling. The Pirates hope he should be good to go after a couple of days of rest.
Linebacker Ray Tillman didn't play last week after getting dinged up in practice. He is expected to be ready for Sunday's 12 noon game in East Hartford when the Pirates travel to Connecticut(1-1) for their first AAC game of the season.
Coach Montgomery held his Connecticut week Monday press conference and PirateIllustrated.com was there to bring it to you in it's entirety.