GREENVILLE (WNCT) –  East Carolina’s Scottie Montgomery promises his Pirates will be more physical. That new them started at practice Tuesday afternoon.

The Pirates will open American Athletic Conference play on Saturday, hosting UCF in a noon kick-off at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

“It was physical,” said Coach Montgomery when asked about the Tuesday practice. “The coaches made it physical, we made it physical, from start to finish, we felt like we got hit, out-hit in the game.That won’t happen again under the coaches watch.”

The players agree that only hard work will take the bad taste out of their mouths from the Virginia Tech loss.

“It’s pretty harsh right now,” said quarterback Phillip Nelson. “We don’t take that lightly. It was embarrassing, but we’re back out here working harder than we ever have, and that’s really the only thing we can do, take it, learn from it, and move on.”

The Pirates are currently a 5 1/2 point favorite. ECU leads the all-time series, 10-4 and beat UCF 44-7 last season.