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College Sports in the Carolinas

View from the East
Thursday, October 3, 2002

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Rose dissects effort: 19 plays that killed the Pirates

Read Al Myatt's Pirate Coaching Profiles series.
1. Jerry McManus, 06/27/02
2. Paul Jette, 08/08/02
3. Steve Shankweiler, 09/26/02





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 aberration.”

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 scored 60.”

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 success.”

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 that night.”

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.

Steak ends

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 have to.

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02/23/2007 12:59:18 AM

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