GAME DAY ANALYSIS
Keys to the
Saturday, September 1, 2007
By Kevin Monroe
Game 1: ECU
at Virginia Tech
Each week, Kevin Monroe, color analyst for the ISP Pirate Sports
Radio Network, provides “Kevin’s Keys to The Game,”
outlining what East Carolina must do to beat its opponent.
Monroe brings a unique perspective to the task, not only as a
member of the broadcast team, but also as a former defensive
back for the Pirates (1995-99).
All Rights Reserved.
Carolina can defeat Virginia Tech if it accomplishes these key objectives:
Saturday’s game is going to be the first major on-campus event since the
tragedy in Blacksburg that left 32 students dead on April 16. The Tech
players have been quoted as saying they feel like they are carrying the
weight of the school and the community on their shoulders. They will
come out of the tunnel with more emotion than they know what to do
with. If the Pirates can be poised throughout the early part of the game
and not try to match the Hokies’ emotion, they may be able to take
advantage of Virginia Tech’s mistakes. It is great to play with your
heart but it’s more important to play with your head.
Pressure the QB:
Virginia Tech’s starting quarterback Sean Glennon didn’t exactly light
the world on fire with his play last season. The junior threw as many
interceptions as he did touchdowns (11) last season. The offensive line
only has one senior, and only sophomore Sergio Render will be starting
in the same offensive line position that he played in 2006. The
inexperience of the Hokies' offensive line coupled with poor decision
making by Glennon could produce turnovers for the Pirates. ECU must put
pressure on Glennon all game long and force him to make plays on the
Virginia Tech won’t be the only team dealing with off the field issues
come Saturday. East Carolina will be dealing with the suspension of
starting quarterback Rob Kass. Kass was suspended after an off field
incident last week. Backup quarterbacks Brett Clay, Patrick Pinkney and
Dwayne Harris each has to be ready to contribute on Saturday if his name
is called and the rest of the offense has to step up its play in order
to help the offense excel even without Kass. The Pirates can not afford
to feel sorry for themselves because of the absence of Kass. The team
that is able to focus on the issues on the field and not the ones off it
is usually the team that wins the game.
It has been well documented how superbly Virginia Tech plays on special
teams. Over the 21 years that Frank Beamer has been the head football
coach, the Hokies have scored 37 touchdowns on special teams, including
15 on blocked punts and four on blocked field goals. They have 113 total
blocks during those 21 years (240 games). East Carolina's first-year
kicker Ben Hartman and first-year punter Matt Dodge have to be perfect
in their technique and precision against the Hokies. Virginia Tech is
60-8 in games in which it scores a touchdown on defense or special teams.
If the Pirates can be sound on special teams it will significantly
increase their chance of winning the game.
The Pirates are obvious underdogs versus the ninth-ranked Hokies. The
pre-game ceremonies will be forever remembered and the team that can control
its emotions and play a solidly executed football game will be the team that
wins the game. Neither team has proven quarterbacks, but both teams should
be good on defense. The game may be closer than most anticipate, but the
Pirates have nothing to lose by coming out and playing to win.
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09/01/2007 03:05:19 AM