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View from the East
Thursday, April 18, 2002

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Trimmer Garrard confident about NFL potential


Lean machine

East Carolina quarterback David Garrard will spend the weekend in Greenville with family and friends as he waits to learn his fate in the NFL draft, which will be taking place at Madison Square Garden in New York City this weekend.

“We’ll probably be grilling some and throwing the ball,” said Garrard, who finished his ECU career with 28 school records. “I’d like to be playing some golf but I need to stay close to the television.”

Draft analyst Mel Kiper has rated Garrard No. 7 among quarterbacks available.

“Some people have said I may go in the second or third round but it may be the fourth or fifth,” Garrard said. “The draft is unpredictable. The important thing is just to be going somewhere, getting there and making an impact.”

Since his senior season ended, Garrard has learned more about his particular nutrition needs. He spent about six weeks in New Orleans at a fitness clinic.

“I’m eating a lot of grilled chicken, peanut butter on crackers, and the leaner cuts of beef — the good cuts, like filet mignon,” Garrard said. “I’ve cut out a lot of starches and carbohydrates. I’m eating about six times a day but I’m eating right.”

He said Wednesday night that his weight is 234 pounds.

“I’d like to be at 230,” Garrard said. “I think once I get through training camps I’ll be 225 or 230. I played at 240. That’s what I played at and my weight wasn’t out of control.”

If players drafted teams rather than vice-versa, Garrard’s top choice would be the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“It’s warm there and they’ve got a good coaching staff,” he said. “Mark Brunell would be a good guy to learn behind and I think I would have a chance to play in a year or two. My second choice would be Baltimore. It’s even closer and I like the area. They have a good coaching staff and they win.”

Garrard ran a 40-yard time of 4.72 seconds at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. His vertical jump was measured at 33.5 inches.

David Carr, the quarterback from Fresno State who is expected to go as the first pick to the new Houston Texans had a vertical jump of 35 inches. The speculation on Carr’s contract is that it will be in the neighborhood of $60 million, about what the 20-year old girl in Georgia got for her share in the big lottery drawing on Tuesday night.

“If they’re going to pay him $60 million, I need to be getting $85 million,” Garrard said. “I honestly feel I have the best tools in the draft, the best potential. I’m not being boastful. That’s just how I see it. If I’d thrown for 4,000 yards or even 3,000, I’d be the No. 1 quarterback. I’ve been told that by different teams.”

Injuries to the ECU receiving corps last season, an inordinate number of dropped passes and the emergence of the running game meant that Garrard threw for 2,247 yards during the 2001 regular season with 13 touchdowns.

Pro scouts measure potential in many ways other than college statistics. Garrard will find out how he measured up this weekend.

“Grip it and rip it”     <<< Top of Page >>>

John Daly’s golf mantra would seem to apply to Garrard’s ability to throw deep on the gridiron. The former ECU quarterback said he has started enjoying some time on golf courses in the last 18 months.

“I had some friends who were going to play golf and I’ve started playing, too,” he said. “I used to think it was for old people, guys who had retired. But after playing it, I’m in love with it. It’s very challenging. It doesn’t take the same skills as basketball or football but it’s a sport that’s really hard to master.”

Garrard has played once with Pirates kicker Kevin Miller, who came to ECU on a golf grant.

“He’s way too good,” Garrard said. “That’s almost like me playing with Tiger Woods.”

Strength and Conditioning Center     <<< Top of Page >>>

I’ve never been to the Taj Mahal but I did get a tour of the soon-to-be-opened strength and conditioning center between Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. Its two stories have about 52,000 feet of floor space and every square inch is spectacular.

“Apart from being sexy and dramatic, it’s very functional,” said ECU football coach Steve Logan. “I was talking with Jim Whitten (ECU strength coach) and we were looking at the number of weight stations. We figured we can take the entire football team in there on a Sunday afternoon during the season and get a full workout in 40 minutes.

“It’s big enough that we could probably have the basketball and baseball teams in there, too.”

Logan said ECU’s existing weight facility in the Ward Sports Medicine Building is about 6,800 square feet.

“In 1990 the current weight room was adequate for our needs,” Logan said. “But at that time football players were about the only ones lifting weights. Now every team lifts weights and the old room can get kind of crowded. One good thing about it is that we will keep the old room which will give us about 29,000 square feet.”

The new facility’s strength and conditioning area is just under 22,000 square feet. It has a four-lane running track that is 56 yards long so that 40-yard dashes may be timed indoors. It has an area of synthetic field turf for agility workouts. It has a specially carpeted area for plyometric (jumping drills). The York barbells, weight-lifting platforms and weight machines are all emblazoned with ECU logos.

The glass-walled east end of the weight room looks out onto field level of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Former Pirate running back Earnest Byner said the weight training and conditioning area is as nice as any in the NFL. Byner, now an official with the Baltimore Ravens, will have a kiosk at the recruits’ entrance at the west end of the building. The display will feature Byner’s pro helmets with the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins.

Former ECU standout and Green Bay Packer George Koonce will also be honored with a kiosk.

Special lighting will be directed on murals and displays along the staircase that will take recruits to an upstairs gathering area that will double as a tutoring facility during the week. That second floor meeting room opens onto a terrace overlooking the east end zone.

“We used to have our recruits under a tent,” Logan said.

The new building is a huge step up. You figure a high school prospect can’t help but be impressed.

“We have something we can show recruits that will hopefully bring them to East Carolina,” said athletic director Mike Hamrick. “It’s also something that will help them develop as athletes when they’re here.”

A walkway connects the basketball arena to the hallway leading to a huge second floor banquet area where high-dollar Pirate Club supporters will convene on football game days. It’s about 100 paces from the interior of Minges Coliseum to the view overlooking the football field. Perhaps there is some symbolism there as basketball at ECU seeks to join football in terms of national recognition.

The Pirates will use the new building as their halftime headquarters in football.

“It’s big enough that we can have our offensive and defensive meetings,” Logan said. “We’ll just bring two greaseboards in there for our chalktalks. It’ll will save us from having to jog back to Kinston.”

The Pirates’ regular football locker room is on the south end of the first floor of the Ward Sports Medicine Building, a pretty good hike from the north sideline.

The area around the new building is in the process of being landscaped, and bricks with the names of contributors to the facility are being arranged around the 36-foot statue of the Pirate on the south side.

Brick-framed gates to the stadium will flank the new structure. The Pirates will dramatically emerge from the new building prior to football games.

Cherry paneling, plush carpeting, high ceilings, skylights and stone walks are just some of the accents. You can bet there’s plenty of purple in the $13 million building, too.

Overseas Pirates     <<< Top of Page >>>

Three ex-Pirates are on rosters of NFL-Europe teams. Punter Andrew Bayes is with the Amsterdam Admirals. Defensive tackle Devone Claybrooks is playing for the Rhein Fire and defensive tackle Norris McCleary is playing for the Frankfort Galaxy.

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

02/23/2007 12:57:28 AM

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