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College Sports in the Carolinas


View from the East
Thursday, March 20, 2003

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Spring of heated competition, big playbook and vomit


Paul Troth said he hadn’t seen his teammates vomit before at spring practice. That was Troth’s way of saying that the tempo had picked up with the new coaching staff of John Thompson.

The workouts started Tuesday and were open to the public. Spring sessions will be held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3:45 p.m. over the next four weeks. Saturday practices will be at 9:15 a.m. There will be no Friday practice on April 11, the day before the spring scrimmage, which will be conducted at 3 p.m. on Sat., April 12.

“It was a million miles an hour for everybody, especially the quarterbacks,” Troth said on Tuesday. “It’s a totally different scheme but I’m already falling in love with it. It takes a lot of coaching to get us where we’re getting, and Coach — he’s just a great guy so far from what I’ve seen. Coach Stock is going to get us right.”

Troth was referring to new ECU offensive coordinator Rick Stockstill, who was on the staff at Clemson for 14 years, most recently as Tigers receivers coach. Stockstill played quarterback at Florida State.

The coaching staff has changed but Troth said his attitude is the same as he competes for the starting job with a group that includes Desmond Robinson, James Pinkney, Sakeen Wright and Kort Shankweiler.

“I try to go in with the same attitude,” said Troth. “Come in here and compete for the job. The job’s up in the air. Spring ball is just about getting better overall as a team. Individually, you just have to step up your game because you’ve got somebody behind you. Competition is fierce at all positions this year, especially at quarterback.”

A purple line at the entrance to the Cliff Moore practice facility is the new starting point for the Pirates. Players run onto the field once they reach the line.

“We hit the field running,” Troth said. “There’s no walking.”

Troth threw 20 interceptions last year and Stockstill said eliminating turnovers is paramount in his offensive philosophy.

“Mindset-wise, I keep telling myself the job’s not mine,” Troth said. “With the performance I had last year, it doesn’t deserve to be mine. Overall, if I can just get better and improve every day I’m confident in my abilities. I’m sure the guys behind me are confident in theirs. It’s just going to be fun to see who comes out on top. Competition always excites people anyway and gives people something to talk about. It’s exciting.”

The tone for the practices is set by Thompson, whose energy and enthusiasm has been obvious to anyone who has spent a few minutes with him.

“It’s great,” Troth said. “He comes out here very intense and he’s just a great guy to be around. He pumps up all of us and he pumps up his whole coaching staff and that trickles down to us. Last year’s done. It’s a new era here and I’m just excited to be here.”

Troth said he welcomes the fans who have come out to watch.

“It’s definitely Pirate family,” he said. “It’s not just the football team. It’s a family here and Greenville wants to come see these guys play and wants to see the players out here working hard. Anytime they can be around the players, they love it. I’m sure with Coach Thompson being able to let them out on the field, it was exciting for guys out here to see us.”

Troth said the playbook is big.

“They’ve taken a lot of the reading out of it,” Troth said. “It’s get the ball out of your hands because we’ve got a lot of playmakers on the team and we’ve got to get them the ball. It’s just a matter of the quarterbacks not making mistakes.”

Stockstill said he was pleased with the effort on the first day of workouts. Thompson said workouts will be lengthy and arduous with much teaching and personnel evaluations to be done.

Running backs coach Jerry McManus, the lone retainee from the previous staff, said Wednesday’s practice was more productive than Tuesday’s.

“It went better than the first day,” McManus said. “The players were more familiar with the tempo of practice and where to go and what to do. It was better than the first day.”

McManus has respect for his new colleagues on Thompson’s staff.

“I think it’s going to work out very well,” he said. “There are a lot of coaches with a lot of experience. It’s a different place and I think it’s going to be a positive experience.”


The summary and rankings of the Division I men’s basketball programs in the Carolinas have traditionally been published on Monday but were delayed this week to allow some perspective on the conclusion of the league tournaments and the postseason events, the NCAA Tournament and NIT.

CBS has firmed up war contingency plans to televise NCAA tournament games on cable networks after an announcement by NCAA officials that their tournament would continue as planned despite pending warfare in Iraq.


The Top Ten

  1. Wake Forest (24-5) ... The Deacons bowed out in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament with an 87-83 loss to N.C. State as Josh Howard, unanimous choice as league player of the year, had 21 points and 12 rebounds. The Deacons are the No. 2 seed in the East Regional of the NCAA Tournament and will play East Tennessee State (20-10) in the first round at 2:45 p.m. on Friday in Tampa, Fla.
  2. Duke (24-6) ... The Blue Devils, the No. 3 seed in the West Regional, plan to start four guards in their NCAA Tournament opener against Colorado State (19-13) at 9:50 p.m. tonight in Salt Lake City, Utah. The lineup with J.J. Redick, Chris Duhon, Dahntay Jones and Daniel Ewing led Duke to its fifth straight ACC Tournament title on Sunday. The West Regional is regarded as the tournament’s toughest.
  3. N.C. State (18-12) ... The Wolfpack couldn’t maintain a 15-point lead over the last 11 minutes of the ACC Tournament final but the Pack’s performance in the league event solidified a No. 9 seeding in the East Regional and a first-round matchup at 12:25 p.m. today against California (21-8) in Oklahoma City.
  4. UNC-Wilmington (24-6) ... Winners of the CAA Tournament, the Seahawks are the No. 11 seed in the South Regional and will face defending national champion Maryland (19-9) in the first round in Nashville, Tenn. on Friday at 9:55 p.m. Guard Brett Blizzard (21.3 scoring average) and center Craig Callahan (16.6 points, 7.1 rebounds) lead the Seahawks of first-year head coach Brad Brownell.
  5. North Carolina (17-15) ... The Tar Heels won their first round NIT game 83-72 over DePaul in Chapel Hill on Tuesday night as David Noel had 21 points and 11 rebounds. UNC will host the winner of tonight’s Wyoming-Eastern Michigan game at 8 p.m. on Monday in the second round.
  6. South Carolina (12-16) ... The Gamecocks completed the season with a 62-56 loss to Ole Miss in the first round of the SEC Tournament on March 13.
  7. Charlotte (13-16) ... The 49ers wound up with an 85-61 loss to UAB in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament.
  8. Clemson (15-13) ... The Tigers lost the play-in game of the ACC Tournament 72-61 to Florida State on March 13. That was the last game for coach Larry Shyatt, who was pressured out on Monday. Chattanooga coach Jeff Lebo, Dayton coach Oliver Purnell and Western Kentucky coach Dennis Felton have been mentioned as possible replacements along with former NBA mentors Lon Kruger and Tim Floyd.
  9. College of Charleston (25-7) ... The Cougars won their NIT opener 71-66 at Kent on Wednesday night as Thomas Mobley scored 20 points. Tony Mitchell added 19 points and Troy Wheless, the Southern Conference player of the year, scored 12. Providence (17-13) will be C of C’s second round foe.
  10. Davidson (17-10) ... The Wildcats finished up with a 66-60 loss to VMI in the Southern Conference Tournament.
The Not-So-Sweet 17

11. East Carolina (12-15) ... Pirates coach Bill Herrion has been at the national junior college tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas this week looking for a point guard to replace lone senior Travis Holcomb-Faye as well as some perimeter scoring help.

12. Appalachian State
13. Wofford
14. Winthrop

15. South Carolina State (20-10) ... The Bulldogs won the MEAC Tournament and got the No. 16 seed in the East Regional where they will face No.1 seed Oklahoma (24-6) in Oklahoma City at 2:55 p.m. today. S.C. State trailed Hampton 26-6 in the MEAC final before rallying to win 72-67.

16. Furman
17. Charleston Southern

18. UNC Asheville (15-16) ... The Bulldogs won the NCAA Tournament’s play-in game 92-84 in overtime in Dayton on Tuesday night to advance as the No. 16 seed in the South Regional to face No. 1 seed Texas (22-6) at 12:30 p.m. on Friday in Birmingham, Ala. UNCA coach Eddie Biedenbach gave Longhorns coach Rick Barnes his first job at Davidson in 1978.

19. Coastal Carolina
20. Elon
21. UNC Greensboro
22. Western Carolina
23. Gardner-Webb
24. The Citadel
25. High Point
26. Campbell
27. N.C. A&T

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02/23/2007 12:40:57 AM

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