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Been There, Done That
Monday, December 18, 2006

By Kevin Monroe

Outlook mostly sunny for offense in 2007

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Scouting Report: ECU Offense

< View Defensive Scouting Report >

With East Carolina's 2006 regular season in the a rear-view mirror, lets take a look at the offense the Pirates put on the field, how it performed and who we can look forward to watching next year.

Overall offensive production has been solid, averaging 230 yards per game through the air and 120 yards per game on the ground. Steve Logan used to say if he could get 250 yards passing, 150 yards rushing and win the turnover battle, he liked his chances in winning every game.

That kind of production is the reason the Pirates were in virtually every game. The problem was the offense wasn’t consistent passing and running from game to game, and it was that inconsistency that led to the five losses.

QUARTERBACK: James Pinkney (senior) was the only offensive player to start all 12 games at the same position. He has been the heart and soul of East Carolina’s offense for the past four seasons. After playing next to the likes of Travis Darden, Jeff Kerr, and Keith Stokes, I thought had seen the toughest of the tough, but James is hands down the toughest player I have ever watched play the game. The downside of JP’s toughness and longevity at the quarterback position is that nobody else has gotten the opportunity to get significant snaps.

Next season could be a four- or five-way battle for the position. Rob Kass (redshirt freshman) and Brett Clay (redshirt freshman) backed up JP this season and should be the front runners for the position next year as sophomores. Patrick Pinkney (sophomore) has the athletic ability but has battled injury through his first three seasons. Dwayne Harris (true freshman) has dominated on scout team in his first season with the Pirates. Also in the pipeline is D.J. McFadden, an incoming freshman from State 4AA champion Charlotte Independence High School, who could shake things up next year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: After transferring from Georgia Military academy, Aundrae Allison (senior) has put together two of the best seasons ever of any ECU receiver. He became the first 1,000-yard receiver in school history last year and almost broke the single season receptions record. Bobby Good (senior) was injured for about a third of the season, but when he played he forced defenses to pay attention to him and not just Allison. He was a possession receiver that could take you deep if necessary. Kevin Roach (senior) made the transformation from being a seldom used mediocre receiver as a freshman and sophomore to the preferred third down target for James Pinkney.

Rumor had it that Steven Rogers (junior) could be and would be better than Good at some point in his career, but it wasn’t until Bobby was hurt in week six, that Steven was able to step in and show us his ability. He has made as many big catches this season as anyone and will be the number one receiver returning. Losing Allison, Good and Roach could have been catastrophic, but the returning receivers have the ability to be just as good. Rogers, Phillip Henry (junior) — who had 150 yards versus UAB — and Jamar Bryant, who is thought to be as talented as Allison if given the opportunity, are an impressive bunch.

RUNNING BACKS: Brandon Fractious (senior) won the starting job in week five and hasn’t looked back. He managed to shore up a running game that was very shaky through the first half of the season. Brandon has twice the attempts and yards as Chris Johnson (junior), who began the season as the starter. Next season, Johnson, Dominique Lindsay (sophomore) and Brandon Simmons (sophomore) will battle for the starting role.

OFFENSIVE LINE: The line began the season as the number one weak spot on the team, but managed to perform much better than expected behind the senior leadership of Eric Graham. Terrance Campbell (freshman) started all 12 games this season and was named to the Conference USA all-rookie team. The experienced gained from this season will lead to a much improved offensive line. If I had to project next year's starters, they would be Campbell (tackle), junior Josh Coffman (tackle), freshman Cory Dowless (guard), freshman Sean Allen (guard), and junior Matt Butler (center). Each one of these lineman has started at least one game this season.

PROGNOSIS:  Overall offensive production has been solid when averaged over the season, but when examined on a game by game basis has been somewhat up and down. The key to progress next year will be leveling out the week to week disparities in proficiency in the passing and running components. Consistent production on the air and on the ground will mean more consistency in winning.

In a nutshell, next season has the potential to be very promising on offense if the Pirates can replace QB James Pinkney with a solid performer.

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02/23/2007 10:32:39 AM


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