“A real deal guy.”
That description is high praise of a player’s ability in the vernacular
of East Carolina football coach Steve Logan.
Sometimes real deal guys are discovered in his football camp as was the
case with a chunky 15-year old named David Garrard a few years ago.
Sometimes real deal guys emerge because ECU is an opportunity for them to
play major college football when other schools in the region seem
indifferent in the recruiting process. That was the situation with Pirates
offensive tackle Brian Rimpf, now an Outland Trophy candidate going into his
And sometimes real deal guys step up from the depths of the depth chart
due to injuries. That is the avenue to real dealdom that outside linebacker
Ike Emodi and flex end Tutu Moye have taken in preseason practice.
“One thing about Christshawn (Gilliam) being hurt,” Logan said this week.
“We’ve found out that Ike Emodi is a real deal guy.”
Emodi is redshirt freshman who was a recruiting project of former ECU
assistant James Webster, who jumped the Pirates ship to return to his alma
mater and coach with former North Carolina teammate John Bunting at UNC.
Webster attempted to bring Emodi with him to Chapel Hill but that didn’t
Expect the Pirates, including Emodi, to be blitzing much more this season
in what may be a new attacking identity for the ECU defensive unit.
“We’ve got some great rush ends,” said tackle Damane Duckett after
The presumption here is that outside linebackers are rush ends or maybe
the Pirates have installed some new alignments after last season’s inability
to pressure quarterbacks at meaningful times.
Moye is a pro — or was. Before the compliance folks at ECU reach for the
phone, let me explain. Moye helped hometown Greenville Rose to the state 4-A
baseball championship in 1997 and was drafted in the 21st round by the
Arizona Diamondbacks. He was also an excellent football player and when pro
baseball didn’t pan out he decided to play football for the Pirates.
Moye isn’t a prototypical tight end. In fact, the Pirates don’t even call
their tight ends tight ends. They don’t even have a specific tight ends
coach anymore. They’ve been moved under the umbrella of offensive
coordinator and quarterbacks coach Doug Martin with the reassignments of
duties elsewhere on the staff to direct the defensive backs.
ECU doesn’t ask its tight ends — flex ends in Pirates lingo — to be
overpowering Mark Bavaro blocking hulks. “If they can shield block on the
zone dive, they can play that position for us,” Logan says.
You’ll recall that Arnie Powell, a rather stringy flanker, made the
transition to flex end during the 2001 season.
Moye’s hands and pass catching ability are significantly ahead of some
others at that spot. Ben Thomas was listed as the starter coming out of
spring but has been limited by an ankle sprain. Thomas is more of a blocker
when the Pirates need that dimension. So is Seth Yates.
Sakeen Wright came to ECU as a quarterback but has been switched to flex
end. “He’s a natural,” Logan said of Wright’s abilities at his new position.
Marques Woolford, a true freshman who was recruited as much for his track
performances at Jacksonville White Oak as anything else, is also in the flex
end mix, although Logan would prefer to get him a year of adjustment and
development as a redshirt.
Woolford? “He’s the deal,” Logan said. “6-4, 220 and runs like a
Sometimes injuries don’t reveal a diamond in the rough. But in the case
of running back Art Brown bumping helmets with a teammate in workouts last
Friday and being held out of recent preseason practices as a result, that
has led to some realizations about his back-up, Marvin Townes.
“We’ve seen that Marvin didn’t fully grasp his responsibilities in pass
protection,” Logan said. “As a result, he’s gotten about 40 billion reps in
Three-a-day sessions ended Tuesday with the start of classes on
Wednesday. The most arduous period of workouts in the August heat is over.
Coaches and players breathe a sigh of relief that the worst is behind them.
Trainer Mike Hanley and his staff deserve credit for keeping the Pirates
hydrated and generally healthy during a dangerous period.
The focus has shifted from teaching, learning and refining ECU’s systems
and competition for positions to uniting and preparing for the season opener
at Duke on Aug. 31.
That’s when the real deal guys officially step up.
They come from different places and different circumstances but one thing
they have in common — they’ll have been forged into a football team in that
cauldron of late summer heat. Pirates fans know the product from that
process can be pretty special.