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College Football in the Carolinas

View from the East
Monday, September 3, 2001

By Al Myatt
Pirate Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Coaching Matters at Wake; Gamecocks Still No. 1


With the arrival of September, what did we learn about college football in the Carolinas?

  • We learned that coaching does make a difference. Wake Forest looked vastly improved under new boss Jim Grobe in a 21-19 upset of East Carolina.

  • The point was emphasized that the Pirates generally aren’t successful when they don’t run effectively.

  • We learned that North Carolina has serious offensive problems based on a 23-7 loss at Maryland.

  • It was confirmed that Duke will struggle if a 55-13 loss to Florida State is an indication.

  • And judging from South Carolina’s relative ease in a 32-13 win over Boise State and Clemson’s difficulty in getting past Central Florida 21-13, we have the teams south of the border slotted in the right order at the top of the State Line Power Rankings©.

Hard to grasp that Wake is the best team in the state of N.C., but we did have ECU in that spot and the Deacons edged them on the road. And since we still don’t have a reading on N.C. State. ...

Al Myatt's State Line Power Rankings© [090301]

  1. South Carolina ... Phil Petty’s nice day (18 of 25, 220 yards, 2 TDs) ends a 7-game win streak for Boise State.

  2. Clemson ... Woodrow Dantzler —152 yards passing and 46 rushing — those aren’t Heisman numbers.

  3. Wake Forest ... Will Wake return to earth in time to line up against Appalachian?

  4. East Carolina ... Disappointment follows a dismaying loss to the Deacons.

  5. N.C. State ... Coming out of the gate Thursday night against Indiana.

  6. North Carolina ... Tar Heels coach John Bunting is realizing the difficulty of the task.

  7. Duke ... Still trying.



Pirates coach Steve Logan had issued the warning with the regularity of a lighthouse beacon — Wake Forest was for real.

Logan knew there was talent in the Deacons program and he knew that Jim Grobe could direct it. But many fans at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium may have thought of the Deacons as the program with just one winning season out of eight under former coach Jim Caldwell.

Even when Wake had a 15-0 lead in the second quarter, Pirates supporters may have been thinking about the 21-0 deficit that the Pirates overcame in a 25-24 win over the Deacons in 1997. Maybe not. But more recent history was at work.

ECU averaged 209.7 yards rushing in its seven regular-season wins last season but just 77.2 in its four losses. The Pirates netted just 63 yards on the ground in the season opener.

Although ECU accentuated its passing after falling behind, the Pirates averaged just 2.5 yards per carry and that simply won’t get it done.

ECU still made clutch plays to have a chance to pull the game out.

Facing third-and-20 at the Wake 42, senior quarterback David Garrard threw to Terrance Copper for 32 yards and a first down at the Wake 10-yard line. Garrard scored on the next play on an option keeper to the left side to pull the Pirates within 21-19. Then the Pirates went for a tying two-point conversion but Garrard was stopped short.

“I was trying to follow the guard,” Garrard said. “I got to the sideline and they said the pitch was there. I was just trying to make a play.”

Garrard didn’t get another chance to make a play as Wake used up the clock behind the running of Tarence Williams, who played at Wilmington Laney and was recruited by ECU.

Logan was pleased with his team’s poise.

“We stayed calm,” he said. “We stayed in the process.”

The Pirates’ objective of winning Conference USA was unaffected, a mission that begins this week with a trip to Tulane.

“These guys are hurting and I am, too,” Logan said. “But there’s nothing wrong that a win won’t cure.”

Victory can probably be achieved with better results in the running game against a defense that is suspect to an extreme — Tulane has allowed 128 points in two games.

Pirates fans need to remember and believe. Again. ECU’s best season ever, 11-1 in 1991, started with a loss.


What makes 83,019 people happy in Columbia, S.C. happy?

A South Carolina football victory.

The Gamecocks put smiles on a lot of faces as much-troubled Derek Watson ran for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.

Even Coach Lou Holtz momentarily put down his alarmist facade. Momentarily.

“Our first team played very well offensively and defensively,” Holtz said. “I’m very disappointed about the way the second team played. I have to look at the film.”

There was also a missed conversion kick for Holtz to harp on, but he’s right about one thing.

“I know we’ve got to make giant strides to be prepared for Georgia,” said the Gamecocks coach.

The Bulldogs chewed up Arkansas State 45-17 in their opener and will be at home as they look to avenge last year’s 21-10 loss.


Tigers coach Tommy Bowden also cited the need for improvement as Woodrow Dantzler had a frustrating day and Clemson didn’t score again after taking a 21-7 lead with 10:36 left in the third quarter.

“We’ve got 10 games to improve and I hope we do improve,” Bowden said. “We prepared the team for a 60-minute game and that’s pretty much what it was.

"If you look at Central Florida’s history, whether it be Nebraska, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, they were pretty much true to tune. They come in, have a couple of big games a year. They’re well coached. They have good skill guys. They had a great plan.”

The Knights led 19-17 in first downs and 328-292 in total yardage although they ran for just 31 yards.

Clemson used a no-huddle offense on its first drive and took a 7-0 lead on a 5-yard run by Travis Zachery.

Dantzler had a 16-yard scoring run in the second quarter.

Jeff Scott, the son of former South Carolina coach and current Clemson assistant Brad Scott, ran 22 yards for a touchdown on a fake field goal in the third quarter.

“Jeff Scott did a good job,” Bowden said. “He has brilliant speed that he inherited from his father. He runs like his mother. That was a big play. It might have been the winning touchdown. That’s a scholarship well-invested. Brad Scott and Ron West pretty much schemed that.”

Clemson next hosts the Wofford Terriers. Call the SPCA.


“You don’t get to enjoy wins very long,” said Deacons coach Jim Grobe as he studied film Sunday of Appalachian and his own team’s offense in the ECU game.

Grobe alternated quarterbacks Anthony Young and James MacPherson in Greenville and felt good about their performances.

“We had a fresh guy in there in the fourth quarter mentally as well as physically,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job with both of them just running our offense.”

Jax Landfried, a former walk-on, caught the winning touchdown, a 44-yard pass from Young that put Wake up 21-13 with 7:22 to go. Kicker Tyler Ashe could have put the Pirates two scores down but he missed the extra point.

“Embarrassing,” Grobe said.

The Deacons coach said he didn’t think much initially about the early safety that ultimately accounted for the margin of victory.

“I was disappointed that we fumbled that exchange,” Grobe said. “We went to sleep. I was more disappointed we turned the football over and upset with the kids. We talked all week about not making turnovers.”

Wake had moved from its 23 to the ECU 6 on its first possession when a fumble by Tarence Williams was recovered by Pernell Griffin of the Pirates at the ECU 2.

Then came the safety.

Garrard in effect threw two forward passes on the same play from the end zone, a no-no with a two-point penalty in terms of where it occurred, according to Tommy Hunt, ACC supervisor of officials.

Hunt said the game crew incorrectly termed the call, “illegal batting.”

“We got a couple of points and they kicked to us which was pretty good,” Grobe said.

A field goal on the ensuing series put Wake up 5-0.

“The safety looked more important at the end than it did at the start of the game,” Grobe said.

Led by 162 yards from Williams, Wake totaled 294 yards rushing at ECU. The Deacons averaged just 150.2 yards rushing per game during a 2-9 season in 2000.


You would think that senior Ronald Curry probably has to be significantly better than sophomore Darian Durant to remain the starter at quarterback.

At some point, Coach John Bunting may look at negligible differences in the performances of the two and start getting ready for future seasons. Or he could borrow a page from Jim Grobe’s book and use them alternately.

The situation needs some definition to avoid the proverbial quarterback controversy, which is semi-festering among the faithful who haven’t yet grown apathetic or turned their attention to the start of basketball practice next month.

Teammates seem to respond more enthusiastically to Durant, possibly a response to Curry’s seemingly aloof personality.

The offensive line and the running game must make coordinator Gary Tranquill feel like the little Dutch boy. Problem is there appear to more holes to plug right now than he has fingers.

Think Bunting is wishing he was getting ready for the start of an NFL season? Texas and former UNC coach Mack Brown up next. Austin isn’t an inviting prospect.


The Blue Devils led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter as running back Chris Douglas went 78 yards with a pass from D. Bryant to put Duke on top.

Florida State forced mistakes in Duke’s kicking game and unleashed a 31-point second quarter to take control.

The Devils showed some more explosiveness in the third quarter when Ronnie Hamilton returned a punt 68 yards for Duke’s second touchdown.

Duke had reason to feel encouraged by factors other than getting its most awesome opponent out of the way. They made some big plays and actually led the ACC’s best program until 12:01 remained in the first half.

“Iron out the mistakes and we’ll be fine,” said Duke linebacker Jim Scharrer, who played minor league baseball in the Atlanta Braves organization.

Duke coach Carl Franks lamented the mistakes that swung momentum back to the Seminoles. Duke outpassed the Seminoles 194-189.

A trip to Rice this week will be more within the Blue Devils’ competitive realm.

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12/05/2013 02:55:33 AM

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