Keys to the
September 12, 2008
By Kevin Monroe
ECU at Tulane
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008, 3 p.m.
Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans
Each week, Kevin Monroe, color analyst for the Pirate ISP 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).
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Carolina can defeat Tulane if it accomplishes these key objectives:
Solid Pass Defense
Tulane lost one of the nations top rushers last year in Matt Forte. If
you watched the Bears beat the Colts last Sunday night you realize just
how much the Green Wave lost when he left campus. Andre Anderson is
trying his best to replace Forte, but he only managed 38 yards on 13
carries with no touchdowns in game one versus Alabama. Out of 82
offensive plays, Tulane passed the ball 50 times and ran it 32 times.
Part of that was due to getting behind early to the Crimson Tide.
Quarterback Kevin Moore completed 57 percent of his passes going 28-49
for 225 yards. Six different receivers had at least three catches
against Alabama. They were led by senior wide receiver Brian King with 6
catches for 51 yards. The Pirates have faired well versus the pass so
far this year. They are only giving up 211 yards passing per game and
have not allowed a passing touchdown. The defensive line will have to
continue to put pressure on the quarterback and the defensive backs will
have to play tough in the back end.
Establish the Run
When playing on the road, it's very important to
establish the run early. When you can run the ball, it opens up the
passing game and gives you the flexibility to call about any play in
your playbook. The tandem of Brandon Simmons and Jonathan Williams has
been more than effective, they have been dominant. Through two games,
East Carolina is averaging 150 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns per game.
Williams is starting to show the talent that made him one of the top
high school backs in the state of N.C.
The ability to run the ball also will allow the Pirates to eat up clock
and keep Tulane's offense on the sideline. ECU had possession for 35
minutes versus West Virginia compared to 25 minutes that the
Mountaineers had the ball.
Protect the Football
Quarterback Patrick Pinkney is getting national recognition not just
because he has thrown for a ton of yards. He has gained over 400 yards
through the air in two games and his productivity has been leveraged to
the max because he and the Pirate offense have taken care of the ball so
well. He has thrown 51 passes and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions.
East Carolina’s offense has fumbled twice in two games, which is pretty
good, but the Pirates can ill afford to throw interceptions or fumble
the ball on the road on Saturday. Mistakes like that are what get good
football teams upset.
The Pirates are a better football team than Tulane, but that doesn’t mean
the Green Wave won’t show up on Saturday expecting to win the football game.
That is why they make you play the games. As ECU itself has demonstrated on
occasion, anything can happen once the whistle blows. The Pirates will get
every team's best shot from here on out because they are a ranked team.
The Green Wave played well against an Alabama team that dominated Clemson
the week before. If the Pirates don’t play well, they can be beaten by the
Green Wave. The ECU players need to remain level-headed and not listen to
everyone telling them how good they are. If each player simply focuses on
his responsibilities, the better team should win.
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09/12/2008 03:37:18 AM