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College Sports in the Carolinas

View from the East
Monday, January 5, 2003

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

'Great night for purple and gold'

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Some East Carolina fans who made the trek to New Orleans had a partisan rooting interest as college football’s grand finale came Sunday night in the Superdome with LSU’s defense holding off Oklahoma for a 21-14 victory and a share of the national championship.

Kirk Doll, assistant head coach and linebackers coach of the Tigers, played on the defensive front for East Carolina in 1971 and 1972.

Doll, who was a candidate for ECU’s head coaching vacancy in December 2002, got some of his former Pirates teammates tickets to the Sugar Bowl. The LSU defensive unit — which led the nation for fewest points allowed — rattled the Sooners repeatedly on a great night for purple and gold.

What I remember about Doll in the process of the ECU coaching search was that he was extremely gracious even when his alma mater passed him over.

Doll was an assistant head coach at Notre Dame with Bob Davie and has 11 bowl rings, according to a former ECU teammate, Billy Tart.

Oklahoma quarterback Jason White proved once again that the Heisman Trophy doesn’t go to the best player in college football at all but usually to a quarterback on one of the nation’s best — and most publicized — teams. If White is the Heisman recipient, the N.C. State people were right to push Philip Rivers. White doesn’t throw accurately or with a lot of zip and his pocket awareness was poor on a final decisive sack by the Tigers. The Sooners inexplicably didn’t go to their best offensive weapon, running back Kejuan Jones, late in the game.

The luster of the Bowl Championship Series’ showcase event had been dulled of course with computer glitches that denied Southern California an opportunity to play for the BCS version of the national championship despite being rated No. 1 in both the writers and coaches polls.

The Trojans expect to get a final No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press poll today.

The powers that be in college football will continue to tweak their system and pocket hundreds of millions of dollars while ignoring common sense and public demand for a playoff system. College presidents make the excuse of potential missed class time in seeking to preserve the rewards of the current system.

The system will probably undergo a degree of change for 2004 and next season will be one of transition in a number of aspects. The formal shift in the landscape of conference affiliation will begin to take place next season with Miami and Virginia Tech moving to the ACC.

That means tougher league competition for ACC teams in the Carolinas.

At home, ECU looks to improve from a disappointing 1-11 season in John Thompson’s first season as head coach. There were some semi-alarming departures at the close of ECU’s 2003 season from some of the more experienced coaches on staff, but Thompson has indicated that replacements are at hand to fill those positions and they appear to be good hires. Still to be defined is the strength coach situation for football, an important factor with offseason workouts at hand.

ECU needs better play at quarterback next season and a more productive offensive system. An impact recruiting class is a priority. The searches for a chancellor and athletics director when completed will give the university and its sports programs a better sense of direction.

In coming days, we will sum up the now-completed college football season with Bonesville.net's final 2003 State Line Power Rankings and the naming of our annual All-Carolinas Team as well as our Carolinas Coach of the Year and Player of the Year.

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

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

02/23/2007 12:44:49 AM
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