The East Carolina Pirates hired Louisiana Tech offensive coordinator Tony Petersen to the same role just before the new year. What will that mean?
The East Carolina Pirates have a new coach in Scottie Montgomery, and Coach Montgomery has started filling out his new staff. He retained only once and future Pirate defensive coach Rick Smith to coach the defensive backs. More important though were the decisions on the offensive side of the ball.
The rationale for that is simple. East Carolina has been committed to the Air Raid for the entire Ruffin McNeill era. For most of that time they had current Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley running the system that he played in at Texas Tech. They recruited for that system and their current offensive mix reflects that.
Montgomery was at Duke where the Blue Devils ran a more conservative offense. The Blue Devils still wanted to run the ball to setup short third down plays and if they needed to air it out to score they would do it, but they wanted to keep their defense off the field when they could. It is an offense that does not exactly scream Air Raid in terms of talent.
If Montgomery tries to build a Duke offense at East Carolina, it should take some time to put together. Instead Montgomery hired Louisiana Tech offensive coordinator Tony Petersen to run the offense. Peterson represents a sort of middle ground between the Dave Cutcliffe Duke offense and the Air Raid. If anything he will be closer to the Air Raid system.
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Peterson is used to playing with wide open offensive systems at Marshall and down at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs passed for about twice as many yards as they ran for, which shows a commitment to balance and a commitment to throwing the ball. The Bulldogs had a 4,000 yard passer and a 1,000 yard rusher last year.
All these things are good signs of an easier transition for an ECU roster that is used to being heavy on wideouts. Isaiah Jones and company should still get plenty of targets. The new question becomes who will be the man behind center. All eyes are on the recovery of Kurt Benkert to be the easy answer to that question.
The East Carolina Pirates will be an interesting team to watch in Montgomery’s first year.