Insights and Observations
Monday, March 13, 2006
By Henry Hinton
Football working with some
substance in '06
LIVE THIS A.M.
in on the radio or catch the live Internet feed of
today's Talk of the Town with
What a difference a year
makes. As Skip Holtz and his team work through spring drills there is
renewed excitement at East Carolina about the direction of the football
After a sometimes
impressive 5-6 first year under Holtz, the program is showing signs of a
Holtz has a lot to be
excited about as he looks to his second year at the helm of a team that was
in real trouble a year ago. Working without a quarterback who had taken a
snap in a Division 1 game during last year’s spring practice created a
concern that eventually went away with the reinstatement of James Pinkney in
That issue is settled
this time around as Pinkney returns for his senior season. In fact all skill
positions seem to be in fairly good shape, allowing Holtz and his staff a
chance to focus on other areas that need a great deal of attention.
One of the issues at hand
revolves around replacing all of the departed linebackers. Losing two
stalwarts like Chris Moore and Richard Koonce has created holes that are
getting a lot of attention this spring.
“I continue to be
impressed with the progress of our three mid-year additions at linebacker
(Orlando Farrow, Danny Muhwezi, Fred Wilson),” Holtz stated recently. "They
have come into camp ready to play. What’s nice about that is that it creates
a lot of depth at that position where perhaps many of the younger guys can
really make an impact on special teams and get additional experience there.”
On the offensive side of
the ball, Holtz has huge concerns about several positions. Replacing
graduates Shawn Levesque and Sean Harmon has created the need for Holtz and
new tight ends coach Donnie Yanowski to get creative.
Former quarterback Devon
Drew has accepted a transfer to that spot and has been impressive so far.
Now at 6-4, 242, Drew spent the winter conditioning sessions preparing for
Drew is battling for the
starting spot with junior walk-on Stanley Bryant (6-5, 254), junior Jay
Sonnhalter (6-5, 246) and red-shirt freshman walk-on Martin Tanski (6-3,
The center position has
Holtz pulling out some hair this spring. Early on the head coach has watched
the ball hit the ground enough during the quarterback-center exchange that
it has created some significant concern.
“This is something we’ll
continue to address each day until we find the right personnel or
combination," said Holtz. “I know it’s still awful early but it is something
we need to get rectified pretty quickly."
After the sixth day of
workouts on Thursday, Holtz seemed cautiously optimistic that the squad is
showing some positive signs.
"Although we weren't as
sharp the last two days as we were during the first four practices, I remain
pleased with the leadership and on-the-field coaching our seniors have
provided," Holtz said. "Every senior class has its own identity and I'm
confident that they will
continue to take ownership of this team."
The first full
intra-squad scrimmage is scheduled for 8 pm Friday, Mar. 24, at
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and will be part of a regional Pirate Club event
earlier that evening. "Party with the Pirates" is a new concept that will
feature dinner, speakers and the scrimmage at 8 p.m.
Registration forms can be
Reservations and advance payment are due by March 13.
West Coast spanking
After an optimistic start
to its season, East Carolina’s baseball team took its 12-3 record on the
road to visit a national powerhouse this weekend as it visited 2004 national
champ Cal State-Fullerton, a team currently in everyone’s Top 10.
The first road trip of
the year was a tough one as ECU was beaten handily in all three games as Cal
State swept the Pirates
Only a Sunday sixth
inning home run by Adam Witter kept the Pirates from being shut out for the
After the game head Coach
Billy Godwin was understandably concerned but searching for the silver
“There were some good
things”, said Godwin. “Obviously I’m not too happy about just four hits
today but this was a good experience for our guys though. In just two weeks
we have to go and play at Rice so maybe this trip will help us prepare for
“We’re going to get back
out there Tuesday and work hard and get ready for Wilmington on Wednesday,”
ECU will play at UNC-Wilmington
at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night and then return home for a three-game weekend
series with Marist.
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This page updated
04/21/08 07:02 PM.