East Carolina football coach Scottie Montgomery flashed his patented smile as he began to speak to the media at a noon press conference on Monday before overseeing his team’s first spring workout later in the afternoon.
“Welcome to spring 2017,” the Pirates’ second-year head coach said.
With that, the month long battle for positions that will lead into August was on.
Montgomery went right to work in addressing what he wants to see this spring. That starts with a new, daily approach.
“We are going to approach every day this spring as a game,” said Coach Montgomery. “We have 15 opportunities to go out and compete and we are going to go out and compete at a high level. Our theme for that is to make it like a game.”
“Last year’s objective for the spring was discipline and conditioning,” he explained. “We made huge strides in that which was very evident through our penalty reduction. That’s our foundation.”
Coach Mo understands that there was much more that went wrong in 2016 then went right. He hopes to take advantage of his team’s time this spring with each and every practice.
“This spring, our focus in all three phases will be directly reflected to execution.” continued Montgomery. “You are going to hear that from me over and over and over again. You are probably going to be tired of hearing me.”
Montgomery had a purpose for this first meeting with the media for 2017 since signing day.
The coach laid it all out. He said the biggest problem area on offense was turnovers last season. The second problem area was in protecting the quarterback.
You can easily see that the two go hand in hand.
Never has a team had so many different problems with failing to protect the game’s most prized possession, the football.
“We had mainly fumbles and tipped-ball turnovers,” Montgomery said. “A lot of people ask the questions as we are going through the year: ‘How do you fix those?’ and ‘What are the ways that you fix them?’ ‘Is it players? Is it coaches? Is it scheme?’ ”
I think those were questions we all had last season.
Coach Mo was as transparent as I’ve seen him to date to kick off spring practice. He knows of the issues and he hopes he has the blueprint to correct things.
It is year two for Coach Mo. But does that make things any easier this spring?
“Easy? No, it will not be easy,” Montgomery explained. “We are going to work. Each one of these practices will have the stress level of a game and
that is the atmosphere that I want in the building.
“If that is considered easy, then there must be some special people in the world because I don’t consider that easy.”
I think Coach Montgomery has found out quickly that nothing about this job is easy.
An old movie favorite of mine says it best.
If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great!
It should be an interesting spring.