Following his team’s fifth straight loss and third straight American Athletic Conference loss, East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery surprisingly isn’t looking for answers.
“I thought our guys played with effort and enthusiasm against Cincinnati,” said Montgomery. “However, effort and enthusiasm without execution produced a failing result.”
Both the Pirates (2-5, 0-3 AAC) and the Bearcats (4-3, 1-3 AAC) entered the game winless in conference, in dire need of a victory. Sitting at 2-5, ECU is now two losses away from losing its bowl eligibility.
“I have never put emphasis on a set number of wins,” said Montgomery. “I want us to be the best football team we can and we have not done that in my opinion. We haven’t won on Saturdays and that is a clear reflection on what we do during the week.”
Albeit, one thing Montgomery is looking for is a boost of morale. He’ll first look to his seniors to make the effort to keep the locker room alive.
“I thought our quarterback, as well as some guys on the defense, were great after the game,” said Montgomery. “We do have a lot of guys on the team who have done exactly what we have asked from day one and upheld the standards.”
Anthony Scott, who started the season as the Pirates’ No. 1 running back, had his fifth fumble in seven games, and lost his third fumble of the season Saturday in one of the most crucial times of Saturday’s games.
Scott has since been moved down the depth chart and replaced by senior utility player James Summers.
“Anthony had done a good job of running the football for us in practice and was working really hard on taking care of the football. He even double arm wrapped the ball on the play that he fumbled going to the ground,” Montgomery said. “He had a fumble earlier in the game after which the team rallied around him and said ‘We believe in you.’”
Summers has produced back-to-back strong performances since moving in the role as the lead tailback, but Scott was still seeing a large number of snaps in the role as the scat back. Due to Scott’s inconsistency in protecting the ball, Montgomery has now decided to move forward with sophomore running back Shawn Furlow.
Furlow saw a decent amount of action last season under former head coach Ruffin McNeill, but has been limited so far this season.
“Physically, Shawn has been great all season,” Montgomery said. “He has struggled a little bit picking up the playbook where Anthony [Scott] probably grasped it as quickly as anyone. It’s [Furlow’s] time and his opportunity.”
Montgomery said the good thing about the younger players on the team was the fact they haven’t lost confidence, because at this point they don’t know any better. On the outside looking in, one could also think the same about a young head coach. Montgomery, however, has portrayed himself as an old spirit since he arrived.
In the midst of a five-game losing streak, Montgomery said he is looking at his team and making sure every player understands that it’s not only about being confident in themselves, but also putting trust in each other.
Montgomery and his team’s next task will be to win in front of a home crowd on Homecoming against a 3-5 Connecticut team.
“A win this week would go a long way in solving a lot of things,” Montgomery said.