Insights and Observations
Monday, November 14, 2005
By Henry Hinton
Coach's greatest needs: Time
in on the radio or catch the live audio feed of
today's Talk of the Town with
thrashing by Tulsa at windy Skelly Stadium, the East Carolina faithful are
left wondering how much has been accomplished in Skip Holtz’s first year.
The answer is quite a
Bowl hopes are dashed for
the Pirates after the second half fiasco that ended with ECU losing to Tulsa
45-13 on Saturday at Skelly Stadium.
With a losing season now
assured, there are many questions that will be bandied about the Pirate
Has ECU gotten better
this year? The answer to that is clearly yes. One can only wonder what the
season might have been like if James Pinkney had not been cleared in the
eleventh hour to take the field. Pinkney gave ECU a chance to win and in the
first half of the season it looked like the Pirates might be competitive in
Nearly every team the
Pirates have played week in week out has had better players. Tulsa clearly
had the advantage. The best chance for ECU to pull out a victory would have
been to force some turnovers, which did not happen.
However, with the
exception of an unusually high number of turnovers of their own at
inopportune times, this version of the Pirates has looked more likely to
succeed than teams the previous two years. At the end of the day it appears
the program just needs more horses.
Getting better in 2006
will mean having some younger players step up, particularly on the offensive
line and the defensive side of the ball. The good news is that players in
the key skill positions will return, including Pinkney, Aundrae Allison,
Chris Johnson and Brandon Fractious.
The Pirates head to
Marshall this weekend for another difficult road game. Early on the
Thundering Herd looked like a shadow of its former self. Recruiting
restrictions have tightened at the Huntington school and it has been evident
on the field.
However, in recent weeks
Marshall has played much better. The Herd lost to Southern Miss in overtime,
and anybody in C-USA will tell you difficult it is to stick that close to
the Golden Eagles. Marshall also has nice wins over UAB, Southern Methodist
Getting a victory in
Huntington next Saturday, while not impossible, will be difficult for ECU.
The Pirates will need a near flawless game.
ECU plays its final game
of the season at home on November 26th against UAB, a team with which the
Pirates have historically had trouble matching up.
The Blazers are currently
4-5 but have to play at Texas-El Paso this week. If Watson Brown’s team
loses to the Miners, it will also be eliminated from bowl contention and the
Thanksgiving weekend game here in Greenville will mean little more than
pride. (I’ll refrain from the temptation to call it the Turkey Bowl).
It would be a cliché’ to
say that Skip Holtz’s team has taken another step toward respectability at
this point. However, it seems reasonable that this is the case. Getting the
program back on solid footing is a difficult task. After starting 3-3,
expectations were raised, perhaps unfairly.
Looking ahead to the
schedules in the upcoming years is enough
to make anyone shudder, but things can come together with a few good
recruiting years. The coaching staff is in place to get the job done.
Skip Holtz is the right
guy at the right time. Speaking of time… he just needs more of it to get the
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04/21/2008 07:03:24 PM