Keys to the
September 19, 2008
By Kevin Monroe
ECU at N.C. State
Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008, Noon
Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh
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 N.C. State if it accomplishes these key objectives:
Dominate the Line of Scrimmage
Its no secret that North Carolina State has struggled to move the
football and score touchdowns this season. Though the Wolfpack hasn't
found a consistent rhythm at quarterback, the bulk of the problems lie
on the offensive line. State starts juniors and seniors at all five
offensive line positions, but only one of them started more than eight
games last season. Being an upper classmen usually means lots of game
experience, but not in this case.
For East Carolina, the loss of Stanley Bryant at left tackle will hurt
offensively, but Travis Melvin and D.J. Scott have each played a ton of
snaps over the last year. They will have a tough task against the Pack’s
defensive line. State’s front, led by junior defensive ends Willie Young
and Shea McKeen, is a force to be reckoned with.
Establish the Run
I used this key last week and the Pirates had a bad
day running the football against Tulane. The good news is that ECU still
won the game even though it found out the hard way how good Tulane’s
defense really is. The bad news is that the Pirates can’t afford to run
the ball poorly and continue to win games. The Wolfpack's front seven
are the best part of its defense but still haven't been very stout
against the run. State is giving up an average of 150 yards rushing per
game and 4.3 yards per carry.
Feed the Playmakers
With Quinton Cotton out of action, the Pirate defense will have some big
shoes to fill. Nick Johnson has played well but the offense needs to
kick it up a notch to help offset the void.
Sophomores Dwayne Harris and Jonathan Williams and junior Jamar Bryant
have proven to be this year's big play guys. When Patrick Pinkney takes
offensive snaps on Saturday, he needs to do his best to find one of
Williams runs hard, but has the moves of a smaller scatback. Harris is
as dynamic a receiver as East Carolina has ever had. Every time the ball
is in his hands he has the ability to break the big one. Bryant has been
ECU’s deep ball threat and came up with the game winning TD last week.
East Carolina was under a lot of pressure last week after winning big
games against Virginia Tech and West Virginia. Tulane was the
prototypical “trap game.” The Pirates were the superior team but seemed
primed for an upset. They managed to squeeze out an impressive
last-minute win but they now must relax and play their own game. ECU
can’t focus on its enormous media following — the Pirates just have to
put on the blinders and go out and have fun.
a better football team then N.C. State, but it’s a rivalry game and anything
can happen. The Pirates need to jump on the Wolfpack early and get the home
crowd out of the game. This State offense hasn’t scored a touchdown against
a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since last December. If the Pirates can
force a few three-and-outs, they can really demoralize the Pack into the
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09/19/2008 04:59:25 AM