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College Football in the Carolinas
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View from the East
Thursday, October 4, 2001

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

"Born on the road", Logan's Team not
Worried About Playing in Chapel Hill

©2001 Bonesville.net

The record last week was 3-3 to bring the overall mark for the season to 17-10. Maybe I should have called Miss Cleo before picking the State-Carolina game. I also missed East Carolina-Syracuse and Clemson-Georgia Tech.

There are only four games involving Division I-A Carolinas teams this week. Clemson has the week off and there are two head-to-head matchups, ECU at North Carolina and N.C. State at Wake Forest. Here we go:


EAST CAROLINA at NORTH CAROLINA
Saturday, Oct. 6, 3:35 p.m., WITN-TV

THE BARE BONES:

The long-awaited renewal of the rivalry is here. It took some legislative pressure in 1995 to get the Tar Heels to agree to two games, the one in Chapel Hill on Saturday and UNC’s first trip to Greenville in 2003.

Recently, ECU athletic director Mike Hamrick negotiated two more games — in Chapel Hill in 2010 and in Greenville in 2011.

After an 0-3 start, Carolina has come together in its last two games to stun Florida State 41-9 and to top rival N.C. State 17-9 in Raleigh.

UNC was thought to have excellent personnel on defense all along but has improved offensively since adding sophomore Darian Durant in a quarterback rotation with senior Ronald Curry. Andre Williams is apparently the type of tailback UNC was looking for, a determined banger between the tackles.

ECU coach Steve Logan said UNC’s defensive front was similar to Syracuse’s in terms of its ability to apply pressure from the edges but the Heels have a better middle rusher, tackle Ryan Sims.

“You actually teach your quarterback to drop back and then step up unless you’ve got somebody pushing the pocket back like Sims is able to do,” Logan said.

Since no longer splitting time with Jamie Wilson, Leonard Henry is emerging as a prime runner for the Pirates. He’s leading Conference USA with 137.5 yards rushing per game and will face a UNC unit that is allowing 288.8 yards per game in total offense, the lowest in the ACC. The Heels have done that against a schedule rated the toughest in the nation by computer whiz Jeff Sagarin.

Heels defensive end Julius Peppers is “a No. 1 draft pick waiting to happen,” Logan said.

The Heels have faced a tough schedule but ECU showed last week that it can step up its competitive level. The Pirates played their best run defense of the season in a 44-30 loss at Syracuse. Both teams have had some superior special teams play.

Logan doesn’t want the Pirates consumed by the kind of overflowing emotion that proved harmful last year against Virginia Tech but he’s not worried about playing in Chapel Hill.

“This program was born on the road,” he said.

NUTS AND BOLTS:

UNC is looking for its first non-conference win. ... ECU’s only win in eight games against UNC from 1972 to 1981 came in 1975, a 38-17 Pirates victory on the day following the death of ECU coaching great Clarence Stasavich. ... Familiar faces on the UNC sideline will include former ECU assistants James Webster, Dave Huxtable, Rod Broadway, and Jeff Connors. Former Pirates linebacker Jeff Kerr is a graduate assistant in strength training. ... UNC coach John Bunting had pizza delivered to students who were waiting in line for tickets on Wednesday. ... The condition of back judge Gerry Bram, 49, who suffered a heart attack in the fourth quarter of the Syracuse game, has been upgraded to fair. He has regained consciousness.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

ECU needs to make big plays and avoid turnovers because UNC will be content to wage a field position battle geared to its defense. I’m thinking the ECU team that Pirates fans have been longing to see is ready to come forth for four quarters.

PREDICTION: ECU 27, UNC 25.


KENTUCKY at SOUTH CAROLINA
Saturday, Oct. 6, 1 p.m.

THE BARE BONES:

South Carolina players must have read the papers after Coach Lou Holtz said on Tuesday that his team wasn’t having any fun.

“We don’t know how to have fun,” Holtz told the Greenville (S.C.) News. “I went to the dentist at 7 o’clock this morning and he’d probably enjoy coaching this team more than I would.

“They work hard. They try. But there’s something missing right now. ... These guys would be great embalmers.

“We don’t laugh. Maybe because we’ve been so tough and so demanding and coach so hard. But by now you have to be knowing what you’re doing and be able to be more relaxed. It’s another step we’ve got to climb. It’s important to be able to climb it and I noticed it today more than ever.”

That was Holtz on Tuesday. After Wednesday’s practice, his evaluation of the issue had improved.

“It was the exact opposite of Tuesday’s practice,” he said. “There was good focus, the players were relaxed and it was really an upbeat practice. The longer it went, the more upbeat it became and that was really encouraging.”

Winning and having fun. It doesn’t get any better than that. Holtz was asked if he was concerned about a letdown after the program’s first win over Alabama in 11 tries.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said. “We were 0-21. It wasn’t two years ago. It’s not like we’ve got amnesia.”

Holtz was told the Gamecocks were rated No. 1 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution computer poll, one of those used in the Bowl Championship Series.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said, again. “Now I understand why there are so many complaints about the computer rankings. I always had faith in computers, but now I’m going to start looking at my pay stub. I’m surprised, shocked.”

NUTS AND BOLTS:

Linebacker Kalimba Edwards is progressing from a neck strain and is probable for Saturday. ... The Wildcats will make a game day announcement on whether Jared Lorenzen or Shane Boyd will start at quarterback. ... Holtz wants more consistency from punter Tyeler Dean, although he’s averaging 41.4 yards.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

The Gamecocks should improve to 5-0 against a struggling Kentucky team.

PREDICTION: South Carolina 31, Kentucky 17.


N.C. STATE at WAKE FOREST
Saturday, Oct. 6, 6:30 p.m.

THE BARE BONES:

The Deacons have the misfortune of playing a team that has just lost to the Tar Heels for the second week in a row. Last week Florida State took a 42-7 lead and a 48-24 win.

“We are disappointed that we didn’t play very well at Florida State but Florida State had a lot to do with that,” said Wake coach Jim Grobe. “They were a very motivated football team. They took it to us. It was a very hostile environment to say the least. We just didn’t play very well.”

Grobe noted that schematically NCSU coach Chuck Amato brought a lot with him from Tallahassee.

“Their defense is very similar to Florida State,” Grobe said of the Wolfpack. “They are very aggressive. They move around a lot and like to blitz and bring pressure and keep the offenses off balance. Offfensively, they are very similar ... very wide open.”

Amato felt his team will be able to put the loss to UNC behind them.

“They’ll get their minds refocused when they start watching Wake Forest,” said the State coach.

Wake’s revamped offense, no huddle and a lot of spread-the-field shotgun, is averaging 231 yards rushing, first in the ACC and 11th nationally.

NUTS AND BOLTS:

Wake quarterback James MacPherson is probable with an ankle sprained at FSU. Co-quarterback Anthony Young is probable despite a foot ailment. ... Grobe sounded doubtful about receiver Ira Williams, who is nursing a shoulder injury. ... The home team has won each game in the series since 1996. ... Amato and Wake center Vince Azzolina are both graduates of Easton (Pa.) High School. ... Wake linebacker Marquis Hopkins is averaging 11.3 tackles per game. ... The Wolfpack has come from behind in seven of its 10 wins under Amato. ... State has the fewest sacks allowed among ACC teams with four and Wake is second with five. ... Wake is 7 for 11 on fourth down conversions.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

State’s offense seems to be missing the big-play dimension that Koren Robinson provided a year ago. Wake is moving the football.

PREDICTION: Wake Forest 24, N.C. State 20.


GEORGIA TECH at DUKE
Saturday, Oct. 6, 1 p.m.

THE BARE BONES:

The Yellow Jackets have won six straight in the series and 10 of the last 11. Duke has lost 16 straight, the longest losing streak in the nation. Some strong trends, huh?

Tech’s defense couldn’t stop Clemson on third down last week but won’t be facing the same caliber of personnel at Duke’s homecoming.

“There’s 21 players in their first year on the college level,” said Blue Devils coach Carl Franks. “Another 15 are playing their second year. ... When you’re playing that many guys who don’t have a lot of experience, mistakes are going to be made. There’s a learning curve involved.”

NUTS AND BOLTS:

Tech linebacker Daryl Smith is out with an elbow sprain. ... Duke sophomore Chris Douglas leads the nation in all-purpose yardage with 212 per game. ... Clemson converted 15 of 22 third down opportunities last week at Tech and had 16 plays that went longer than 10 yards as the Tigers piled up 502 yards of total offense.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

Duke will play hard but its talent level is not sufficiently broad-based for an upset.

PREDICTION: Georgia Tech 34, Duke 17.

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

Click here to dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:03:10 AM
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