VIEW THE MOBILE ALPHA VERSION OF THIS SITE

Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather

 
 

 
Put your ad message in front of 1,000's and 1,000's of Pirate fans. Call 252.637.2944 for flexible options & rates.

 

 
 

CHRONICLING ECU & C-USA SPORTS
-----

View from the 'ville
Thursday, August 16, 2007

By Al Myatt

Kass approaches season with poise

By Al Myatt
©2007 Bonesville.net
All rights reserved.

East Carolina sophomore quarterback Rob Kass, facing his first start in the Pirates' 2007 opener at Virginia Tech on Sept. 1, saw action in five games last season, including extensive duty versus South Florida in the PapaJohns.com Bowl. (ECU SID photo)
 

RELATED ITEMS

Myatt: Kass approaches season with poise
Audio: Skip Holtz guest appearance on Talk 1070' Talk of the Town
Bailey: Young backs jockey for travel squad
Myatt: Troth on new mission second time around
Bailey: Kass a natural in high-profile position
Audio: Skip Holtz at the ECU Pirates' Media Day
O'Brien: Coffman thriving in leadership role
Bradsher: Winning 'em over in back country not easy
O'Brien: Coaches sound off on 'Mid-Major' label
O'Brien: Expansion not on C-USA radar
Cherubini: Ex-Pirate coach applauds state of program
Gold: ECU pays price for Florida's success
If Rob Kass stands up to real blitzes as well as he did that of the media when reporters converged on the Murphy Center prior to the start of August football practice at East Carolina, then any concerns about the sophomore quarterback's capabilities should be greatly reduced.

He has a presence and speaks with an authority that are highly desirable in team leaders.

Kass's major is communications and his skills in that area probably help make him a good interview. His relative inexperience at a key offensive position make make him pivotal to ECU's hopes of meeting the challenge of a highly-charged 2007 schedule.

His first start will come in 16 days at Virginia Tech on national television against a unit which returns eight starters from the nation's top-ranked defense. At this point Kass's confidence is ahead of his experience.

He played in five games as a redshirt freshman in 2006 in a back-up role to James Pinkney. Kass completed 14 of 30 passes for 184 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. His best numbers came in a 24-7 bowl loss to South Florida in which the Longwood, FL, product completed 10 of 19 passes for 138 yards.

His first postseason pass was hauled in by Brandon Fractious for a 26-yard gain. His longest career completion came later as he connected with Bobby Good for 29 yards on a fourth down play.

The ECU media guide lists Kass as 6-foot-4 and 247 pounds but he's actually a little lighter. He started preseason practice around 238 pounds.

"I've lost some weight," he said. "Probably by the end of camp I'll be in the low 230's. Coach (Todd) Fitch (offensive coordinator) and Coach (Skip) Holtz, we all thought it would be good. I'll be a more effective player at a lighter weight because I'll have that extra step. At 250 pounds in the fourth quarter I would be too tired.

"At a lighter weight, I'll be quicker and handle the fourth quarter better."

It might appear that the Pirates plan for Kass to become a ball carrier more often than anticipated.

"I'm more of a pocket passer," he said. "But I'd like to get the opportunity to show my running ability off. I might not be the fastest guy but I'm a pretty tough guy to take down with the ball."

On seven carries last season, Kass didn't evoke any comparisons to David Garrard, whose fullback/tight end running style put defenders on the defensive. Kass netted minus-23 yards on the ground, with his longest foray — seven yards — coming in the bowl game against the Bulls.

Obviously, Kass is in a new role as he has emerged from the shadows after a season as Pinkney's understudy.

"Last year I was taking reps a little bit with the first team, some with the second team and some with the third team — whatever it may have been," he said. "This year taking all the reps with the ones will be a great experience. You get that hands-on experience. You feel more confident knowing that you have run play after play with repetition and understanding the offense.

"Another year in the program and another year in the offense, you feel a lot more confident going into it."

Fitch's arrival from Iowa State before spring practice has helped Kass along the learning curve. If his football intelligence is on the same level as his classroom performance, then Fitch has a capable student with which to work. Kass has been on athletic director Terry Holland's honor roll since he arrived in Greenville.

"Coach Fitch has brought that little wrinkle here and there," Kass said. "He's been a great asset to us. This past summer I kind of picked at his brain. I called him all the time, text messaged him and met with him.

"He had a great quarterback in Bret Meyer out at Iowa State. He passed for a ton of yards and accumulated a ton of yards of offense. I really feel like Coach Fitch truly helped Bret Meyer out because of his knowledge. Going into a game situation, I would imagine that Bret would have felt prepared.

"I truly feel like I'll be prepared going into September first at Virginia Tech."

Kass comes from a football family. A grandfather played quarterback at Hofstra and his dad, Dave, another quarterback, started his career at Wake Forest before transferring to New Hampshire. His versatile father once played five positions in a game.

"They're always there to support," Kass said. "My family is always there in good times and in bad. My dad's biggest thing is to 'Always keep your head up' — to not get too high when you're doing well and not get too low when you're doing bad.

"After a touchdown pass, celebrate with your teammates, enjoy it but forget about it and go do your job. If an interception happens, forget about it. You have to be able to lead this offense not only on the first play of the game but when it gets down to the nitty-gritty in the fourth quarter."

Kass may not have a go-to receiver with the talent of Aundrae Allison that Pinkney used to advantage in the first two seasons of the Holtz era.

"Aundrae was a great player," Kass said. "He's getting an opportunity to play in the NFL. He obviously showed what he can do. A guy like Steven Rogers might not have that blazing speed but I feel confident in what he can do. He understands this offense. I know Steven Rogers is going to be where he needs to be on every snap. If I throw a ball out there, he's going to come down with it.

"A guy who will have that blazing speed is Jamar Bryant. Like he had an opportunity to show in the spring game, Jamar runs very crisp routes. He's not afraid to get in there and knock somebody out, too, but he's able to run away from people.

"I feel like Aundrae was a great player but in two years of working with Jamar, and for the next three years hopefully, I feel like we'll have a great opportunity to play well together."

Kass studied tape of Virginia Tech during the summer. Despite the caliber of the opposition that the video portrayed, Kass has confidence that the Pirates can compete in their season opener.

"We broke down what we did in the spring and after that we went into Virginia Tech," Kass said. "Tuesdays and Thursdays were our film days as quarterbacks.

"That defense is incredible. They have great team speed but ... we feel like as long as we continue to play in the system it will give us a good opportunity to win the game."

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

Dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville archives.

08/16/2007 03:29:12 AM
-----

 
 

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 Bonesville.net. All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of Bonesville.net.
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View Bonesville.net's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact: editor@bonesville.net; 252-444-1905.