Insights and Observations
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
By Henry Hinton
Promising phase of season
starts with UVa
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Winnable. That’s the
quickest and most positive way to describe each and every one of the
remaining eight games on the East Carolina schedule.
In spite of the team's
1-3 start, there is great optimism among the fan base.
Confidence that ECU can
finish strong is not just contained to people who follow the program from a
close proximity. This week the Pirates found themselves among teams
predicted to make a postseason bowl game.
The Fox Sports website
published its bowl projections earlier this week and surprise, surprise… the
Pirates are there. While it is way early, it is fun to think that the site
may be accurate in predicting that ECU will face Syracuse in the
Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field on December 23rd. That would be an
interesting match-up considering the Pirates were originally scheduled to
play the Orange this year before Terry Holland made some changes in the
Click this link to check out the Fox
Sports projections for yourself.
First things first. The
Pirates have a rare opportunity to host an ACC team Saturday night when
Virginia comes to town. Two weeks ago, it appeared ECU might have gotten the
Wahoos on the right year.
Then came UVa's game at
Saturday, the Cavaliers
rebounded to crush the Blue Devils 37-0. They will bring their 2-3 record
into a rollicking Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday night with a newfound
Perhaps the biggest
factor in their turnaround is the play of redshirt freshman quarterback
Jameel Sewell. Cavs Head Coach Al Groh has tapped Sewell after trying three
different players as the signal caller.
While the consensus is
that Sewell does not have an extremely strong arm, even ECU coach Skip Holtz
says that he looks like he has gained confidence.
“When you see him in the
game a week ago when he first started, he wasn't as comfortable as he was
last week against Duke. I'm sure with this week of practice under his belt
and a full week of film study, he'll come in here and be a lot better then
he was a week ago,” said Holtz.
The Pirates continue
their home stand and crowds have been great. How much will the home field
advantage help ECU? Most likely a great deal. With a surging Virginia team,
the Pirates will need all the help they can get.
“People look at their
record and say, well, they are 2-3 and have lost a couple football games,
but I think they are a lot better then their record indicates.” Holtz said
of UVa. “This should be a heck of a challenge this week.”
Perhaps the largest
concern entering the game continues to be a lack of an ECU running attack.
In that regard, the open date could not have come at a better time. Coach
Holtz and the staff have made that a priority during the off week.
“It's been a combination
of things”, says Holtz. “We have looked at moving a lot of personnel around.
We have taken a look to try to find the right chemistry mix. We want to get
the right players on the field at the right time and in the right position.”
Chris Johnson is expected
to play in spite of the lingering problems with turf toe. Perhaps more
questionable is star receiver Aundrae Allison, who is still nursing a high
If ECU is to make the
turnaround predicted on the Fox site and by others, a win over Virginia
could be a large key and a good start at the “winnable” part of its
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This page updated
04/21/08 07:02 PM.