Insights and Observations
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
By Henry Hinton
Calm before bowl week about to
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All is quiet this week at
East Carolina, a tranquility that will not last long. The Pirate players are
busy in final exams but on Friday they will hit the field and start
preparing in earnest for their meeting with South Florida in the
The coaches are getting a
bit of a break right now but the players are not. Yes, they are
STUDENT-athletes after all. Exams will be over soon Thursday and coaching
staff will begin to install the game plan for the Dec. 23 game at
Birmingham’s Legion Field.
ECU is an early underdog
in the game (3.5 points) as of Tuesday, which can be considered a show of
respect for a Pirate program that finished the season 7-5. South Florida is
8-4, finishing the season in impressive fashion with a 24-19 win over West
Virginia in Morgantown in the last week of the regular season.
Being new to the
postseason lineup, the Papajohns.com Bowl has been working diligently to
prepare for the teams’ arrival in Birmingham. Because it is the inaugural
game, the pomp and circumstance is going to be held to a minimum.
Teams will arrive in
Birmingham on Tuesday, Dec. 21. ECU will make the swanky Winfrey Hotel its
home for the week. The Pirates had originally been assigned a smaller hotel
but asked to move due to lack of meeting room space.
The Winfrey is generally
considered the nicest place in town and features an opening into the
Galleria, one of Birmingham’s premier indoor shopping malls. It is the hotel
used annually for the Southeastern Conference Media Day event, which has
made it easy for us in the media to be accommodated.
Talk 1070 will broadcast
its Talk of the Town morning show live from the Winfrey on Friday,
Dec. 22, from 6:30-9:00 a.m., including guests from ECU and bowl officials.
The teams will get their
first workout in historic Legion Field on Wednesday morning. ECU will work
out from 9:00-11:15 a.m. that day.
Wednesday night the team
will be treated to a welcome dinner, courtesy of the City of Birmingham, at
a comedy club. ECU Athletics Director Terry Holland will be the featured
On Thursday morning, the
ECU team will get a taste of the southern city’s rich local history with a
tour of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute followed by practice at Legion
Some light-hearted fun
will take place Thursday night as the teams from ECU and USF face each other
in a bowling match. It is being billed as the "Bowling and Barbeque
Challenge." Amazingly there will be no Papa John’s pizza served.
Friday morning the team
captains, along with mascots and cheerleaders, will pay a visit to the
Birmingham Children’s Hospital. At 11:00 a.m. that day, Coach Holtz will
conduct his only official press conference of the week.
At noon on the day before
the game, there will be an official “Kickoff Luncheon” at the Birmingham
Sheraton Hotel downtown. Holtz will be the featured speaker there.
The bowl will conduct a
pep rally on game day at Legion Field at 10:00 a.m. for fans of both the
Pirates and the Bulls, and of course kick-off for the game is scheduled at
In addition to the live
morning show coverage from Birmingham on Friday, Talk 1070 will air a
“Bowling in Birmingham” special Friday night at 7:00 p.m.
On Saturday, "The Pepsi
Game Day Countdown" will be broadcast live from Legion Field beginning at
10:00 a.m. (Eastern Time), a full three hours prior to kickoff.
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This page updated
04/21/08 07:01 PM.