USA Today Sports reporter Aaron Jackson gives us intel on East Carolina

Each week, catches up with the beat writer who covers the Hokies' opponent. This week, we touched base with reporter Aaron Jackson for details on the Pirates.

1) James Summers ran all over VT last season but how does he look this season?

Last season, James Summers was used as more of a quarterback, so most of his runs were improvised, despite the planned quarterback keepers. This year, he has been able to play multiple positions. He has been very versatile at running back, wide receiver and quarterback so far.

2) What are some of the major differences from Ruffin McNeil to Scottie Montgomery?

East Carolina’s new head coach Scottie Montgomery has rejuvenated the football program. His work ethic in practice and how he handles himself during games is impressive. He believes in hard work and playing fast. He also lets the team know each week nobody’s position is safe. It’s always next man up.

3) It looked like some missed opportunities at South Carolina. After the win over NC State, does this team lie somewhere in the middle of those two games, or is one more indicative?

To answer your question directly, I think this team should be looked at as the one who beat NC State. They are strong and relentless and refuse to quit fighting. They were just plagued by turnovers and fixable mistakes against South Carolina.

4) What stands out defensively about the Pirates?

Speed is one of the things coach Montgomery preaches. Everyone on the defense practices to get to the ball every play as quickly as possible. The best thing that I have seen from a defensive group would be the defensive line. The line is powerful and able to stop up holes and put pressure on the quarterback.

5) How much does the series with VT mean to ECU? What's been the general talk from the team this week?

This series against Virginia Tech has been very prominent on the fan’s minds. Going back to 2014 when the Pirates pulled out a win, the fans remember that victory. This has sort of become a rivalry. From the team, all that they have said about leading up to this game is to view it like any other one. The team looks forward to traveling to Blacksburg to try and capitalize on the opportunities it missed on in the South Carolina game.

Jackson's fearless prediction:

I believe the game will be close at the end, but Virginia Tech will strike quick in the first half. I predict a score of 17-10 with the Hokies leading at home at halftime. In the second half, the Pirates will come out and compete like they did in the first two games. I predict a final score of 31-27, with the Pirates taking the win.

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