I’ve played golf with Tim Rose. It’s his offseason passion and the East
Carolina defensive coordinator has already bought a retirement residence off
of Pinehurst No. 6.
Rose hits it straight and he’s the same way when asked the tough
questions, like, “What happened at West Virginia?”
In case anyone has forgotten, the Mountaineers ran for 536 yards in a
37-17 non-conference win over the Pirates last week.
Pirates coach Steve Logan hired Rose before the 1999 season and Rose is
essentially in charge of the defensive unit, since Logan works primarily
with the offense. That makes Rose accountable for last week’s performance
against the Mountaineers.
“The first thing that needs to be understood is that every game is a
season by itself,” Rose said. “The first three games we showed ourselves to
be a pretty good defense. What happened at West Virginia was an absolute
Rose said there are three areas that bear evaluation regarding the WVU
game. The first thing to be examined is the opponent’s ability and skill.
The second thing to look at is preparation by the coaching staff. The third
element is the performance of the players.
“Give West Virginia an A, give the staff an F and give the players an F,”
Rose said. “But if we hadn’t played effectively at times, they could have
Rose is a methodical evaluator. He looked at every game tape from the
2001 season after last year’s GMAC Bowl and the Pirates’ defense was
overhauled in the aftermath. Personnel was shifted and extra defensive back
packages were added in the spring. The defense that was retooled to stop the
pass was confronted with a superior ground attack in Morgantown. Add some
impressive blocking with constant breakdowns in pursuit and it adds up to
536 yards rushing for the Mountaineers.
“They had 19 runs that got 416 yards,” Rose said. “That means they had 43
more runs that got 120 yards.”
Thus, the Pirates did a respectable job on 69.4 percent of WVU’s running
plays, an average of 2.8 yards per carry on that segment of WVU’s effort.
Still, that’s little consolation.
“There’s no way you can candy coat it,” Rose said. “For 19 plays we were
as bad as you can possibly be.”
That’s Coach Rose. Hitting it straight, just like on the golf course.
Berry returns to Greenville
Army coach Todd Berry was on the East Carolina coaching staff for four
seasons (1992-95) and served as offensive coordinator for the Pirates when
they beat Stanford 19-13 in the Liberty Bowl in 1995. He recruited Florida
for ECU but his scope has expanded nationwide at West Point.
Berry and his former boss, Coach Logan, stay in touch.
“He recruited Florida for us and that’s routine on a staff,” Logan said.
“You’ve got your area and you fly in and out. Todd tells me he’s in Montana,
Los Angeles, Miami, South Dakota — I mean it’s amazing. It’s a totally
different animal. They don’t have a recruiting season. They’re year-round.
They don’t have a national letter. It is a really, really different deal.
“I think the competition they run into is they end up fighting for the
same young man that Navy and Air Force want. That’s how it ends up so there
is a salesmanship issue there. He told me he’s trying to go and recruit kids
and get them interested in Army whereas before it was, ‘Are you interested
in Army? Yes. O.K. we’ll come talk to you.’
“He’s going out and trying to find good football players and saying,
‘Hey, why don’t you take a look at this.’ He says to me that he’s had some
The older players in the program were recruited for a wishbone offense.
Berry’s scheme is similar to what he ran at ECU.
The Cadets have struggled with turnovers. Sophomore walk-on Matt Silva
threw six interceptions in last week’s 27-6 home loss to Southern Miss. That
dropped Army to 0-4 on the season and 0-2 in Conference USA. For the season,
the Cadets are minus-10 in turnover margin.
“They’re much like we are in that they are playing some young people at
skill positions,” Logan said.
Army quarterbacks Reggie Nevels and Corey Sherk, both sophomores, are
working their way back from injuries.
“They’re back but they’re not full speed,” Berry said on Monday. “When
you play a defense as fast as East Carolina, you need your quarterbacks to
be full speed.”
Berry didn’t exclude the possibility that either Nevels or Berry or both
might be available on Saturday.
Troth at wideout
ECU’s own sophomore quarterback Paul Troth completed 23 of 33 passes at
West Virginia for 207 yards with two picks although Troth was not officially
the starter. Richard Alston lined up at quarterback to begin the game with
Troth at wide receiver.
“It’s just a little wrinkle,” Troth said. “I don’t know what we’re going
to do with that situation. We were just trying to get them off their toes.
But anytime you get the ball in Richard’s hands, you have an opportunity to
do stuff. I just go out to wide receiver and make sure I’m onside.”
Troth isn’t the first in his family to line up at receiver. His dad,
Mike, lettered at flanker on the 1973 team that went 7-0 in the Southern
Conference under coach Sonny Randle.
“I don’t think we’ll be throwing any passes to me out of that set but
maybe Coach (Doug) Martin (offensive coordinator) has something in store,”
Troth said. “Competitor that I am, I wanted to block. Richard checked to my
side one time and I wanted to block but the coaches were telling me not to.
I didn’t want to get yelled at.”
Alston said he felt comfortable back under center, the role he played as
a back-up to David Garrard his freshman and sophomore seasons.
“We had seen something on tape where we could run the option and we
wanted to use it early,” Alston said. “If we hadn’t gotten that first
penalty on first down I think we would have gotten a first down out of that
little sequence. It didn’t go quite as well as we wanted it to. We feel like
we can do it again at some point in time in the season.”
Getting involved in the offense early in the game helps Alston.
“It got my blood going a little bit,” he said. “You ask any player on the
team — it always feels good when you can touch the ball early in the game.”
Blair proud of Cards
ECU defensive tackle Ja’Waren Blair watched Louisville top then-No. 4
Florida State 26-20 in overtime last Thursday night.
“I was tremendously proud of Conference USA that night,” Blair said. “I
was tremendously proud, especially of Louisville that night because they
were against all odds and they came out and showed up. They showed that this
is a conference to be reckoned with, that this is a conference that you’re
not going to schedule and think you’ve got a win right there.
“We have athletes just as well as the ACC has athletes and they proved it
Big jump to Boston
Never underestimate the power of an East Carolina education. Joe
Gallagher was an assistant coach at Campbell for three years before
accepting a position on the staff of Boston Celtics coach Jim O’Brien this
summer. Gallagher is a former head coach at Methodist, Pembroke State and
Belmont Abbey with an overall record of 91-69. He was an assistant for Dick
Tarrant at Richmond when the Spiders reached the Sweet 16 in 1984. He has
worked in Boston previously as an assistant for five years at Boston
College. Gallagher got his masters degree from ECU in 1974.
West Virginia receiver Miquell Henderson was bidding for a third straight
100-plus yard receiving game, which didn’t happen against ECU. Henderson had
two catches for five yards, falling well short in his bid to be the first
Mountaineer to achieve such a receiving trifecta.
WVU quarterback Rasheed Marshall completed just 6 of 14 for 33 yards. The
Mountaineers didn’t do much in the way of passing but then again they didn’t