INSIDE SLANTS ON THE PROGRAM
Been There, Done That
Monday, January 8, 2007
By Kevin Monroe
defense in the cards for 2007
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Scouting Report: ECU Defense
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East Carolina football fans were very hopeful
after a strong finish in 2005 that the program had finally turned the
corner. Then the team made the trip to Annapolis to play the Midshipmen.
The gimmick option attack that Navy runs is
almost impossible to stop. The Middies run the ball 9 out of 10 snaps and
you have to be prepared to stop the quarterback, the running back and the
fullback on every snap. That is a difficult challenge for almost any team.
The Midshipmen put up 400 rushing yards
against the Pirates and I heard sighs of “here we go again” from Pirate
It wasn’t until 4th-ranked West Virginia came
to town did it become apparent that the 2006 edition of the ECU defense had
The Pirates held the number one rushing
offense in the country to under 200 yards rushing. The only other team to
defend the Mountaineers as well as East Carolina was the Pirates' bowl
opponent, South Florida.
The remainder ECU's 2006 season was one
defensive show after another. The Pirates were in almost every regular
season contest because of how well the defense played. The Tulsa game was a
notable exception in which East Carolina just seemed to be outmatched
Let’s take a look at the players that carried
this year’s team on defense and some of the stars for the future.
The defensive back position was a huge unknown before the 2006 season. Jamar
Flournoy (senior) was coming off a redshirt season because of some offseason
issues. Both Kasey Ross (senior) and Travis Williams (junior) were getting
their first opportunities to start every game at corner, even though they
both saw plenty of playing time in 2005. Starting free safety Zach Baker had
graduated, leaving the job up to Pierre Parker (junior) and Kyle Chase
(senior). All of the aforementioned players played well above expectations
this season. Ross and Williams have truly become a great corner tandem and
wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Ross had two fourth quarter
interceptions for touchdowns; one of those interceptions sealed a victory in
the Memphis game. Williams will return at one corner next year, and Leon
Best (freshman) will probably be the favorite next season to replace Ross.
After losing Chris Moore, Richard Koonce, and Josh Chisolm to graduation in
2005, the Pirates really had some questions at linebacker. Some offseason
acquisitions and youth in the program were forced to step in and make an
immediate impact. Junior college transfer Fred Wilson took on the leadership
role early in spring ball and helped bring along youngsters like Van
Eskridge (freshman), Pierre Bell (sophomore) and Quentin Cotton (sophomore).
Cotton has been the most consistent linebacker we have had on the field
since Moore left a year ago. Another young player that has seen significant
playing time and been very effective is Nick Johnson (freshman). The future
looks bright for the Pirate linebacking corps.
The D-line was supposed to be the most experienced group coming into the
season with Shauntae Hunt (senior) and Marcus Hands (sophomore) coming back
with Dontre Brown (senior) in the middle. As the season went on and injuries
started to plague the defensive, new stars began to emerge. Brandon Setzer
(sophomore) and Mark Robinson (junior) are a couple of the defensive lineman
that played well for the Pirates; Robinson was second on the team in sacks
with two. Zach Slate, (sophomore), Robinson and C.J. Wilson (freshman)
really played well at the defensive end position. Wilson led the team in
sacks with three. You can also include Wendell Chavis (junior) and Jay Ross
(freshmen) in the mix of returning players next year that will see plenty of
The 2006 season was a a pleasant surprise on
the defensive side of the ball. No longer can teams just run through the
Pirates and not have to worry about ECU making changes that will stop them.
In the past, running backs have used the East Carolina game to pad their
stats, but that wasn’t the case this season. Rarely does the defensive staff
get outflanked. Coach Greg Hudson and his aides do a great job of making the
correct adjustments at halftime to dominate the opposing offense in the
Next year's defense will have some big shoes
to fill, but it has the right personnel and coaches returning to be just as
good or better next year.
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02/23/2007 10:33:16 AM