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Blackwell: 'I'm mad as hell'

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East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery look over to defensive coordinator David Blackwell, front, during the Pirates' home game against North Carolina on Sept. 8.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, October 11, 2018

What happened to the East Carolina football team last Saturday in Philadelphia certainly did not settle well with first-year Pirate defensive coordinator David Blackwell.

Temple beat ECU 49-6 and out-gained the Pirates 470-196 in total yards, dropping ECU from 17th in the nation in total defense to 29th. ECU also fell to 89th in scoring defense.

“They better be mad, because I’m mad as hell,” Blackwell, who pointed to Temple’s 10-of-17 conversion rate on third down as the most costly statistic, of his defense. “They better have seen it all week. … I don’t care if you roll out the New England Patriots, we don’t expect to give up those kind of points and yards.

“I’ve been a coordinator a long time and that’s the most points I have ever given up in a football game as a coordinator. Seven of those came on special teams, but still, that’s a lot of points.”

Temple got off to a hot start, quickly disrupting the Pirates’ plan on offense and defense. It was a 28-0 lead early in the second quarter and a 35-3 cushion at halftime.

Next up for the Pirates (2-3, 0-2 American Athletic Conference) and their defense is their most challenging matchup yet with Houston (4-1, 1-0). The speedy Cougars are top-five nationally in yards per game (582.2) and scoring offense (50.0 points per game).

But Blackwell doesn’t want his players to lack confidence.

“I lived it when I was at the University of Pittsburgh years ago and we had our punt team so afraid of (the Virginia Tech) punt return team and (Frank) Beamer ball and all that, we didn’t play with confidence,” he said. “I’m not going to coach our guys to be scared of anybody. We have good players and we have good coaches here. We have a great university and a great fan base.

“We expect to compete at the highest level, and we’re not always there, but our expectations are never going to change.”

Senior linebacker Cannon Gibbs said that ECU can draw from its first two games of the year.

The Pirates began their season with a 28-23 upset loss to North Carolina A&T. With tensions high, East Carolina then routed North Carolina, 41-19, in Greenville.

“Anytime you get beat like that (against Temple), it hurts, and you have to check your oil a little bit,” Gibbs said. “That is what we have done. We just have to be sharper, and I think we will.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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