Keys to the
October 10, 2008
By Kevin Monroe
ECU at Virginia
Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008, 12 p.m.
Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA
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).
All Rights Reserved.
Carolina can defeat Virginia if it accomplishes these key objectives:
Forget the Houston Game
The first thing the Pirates have to do is get the Houston game out of
their minds. That game sent the entire Pirate Nation back to 2005, and
that is a place where none of us needed to be. Over 600 yards of total
offense was given up to the Cougars and that was after getting four
takeaways. East Carolina’s defense seemed handcuffed to Houston’s
no-huddle offense. Rushing the passer or covering receivers was made
even tougher because the Pirates struggled just to get lined up
correctly. The bye week gave East Carolina the opportunity to get some
injured players healthy and to refocus as a team.
Back to the Basics
Virginia is not Houston. Until last week versus
Maryland, the Cavaliers had failed to score more than 16 points in a
game. The most rushing yards they have had in a game is 210 and the most
passing yards is 226. UVa has a lot of talent, but no players have
established themselves as game changers. ECU has to get back to simple
things like getting off blocks and wrapping up on defense. Same thing on
offense — the Pirates should just focus on moving the chains. Both the
passing and running games were MIA versus Houston.
Control the Line of Scrimmage
The Pirates will be without standout wide receiver Jamar Bryant, which
takes away one of their big play threats. Not having your main deep
threat means that playing small ball becomes very important. It all
starts up front offensively. Since the Tulane game in week three, the
Pirates haven’t been sharp on offense. East Carolina's offensive line is
young but experienced, while this UVa defensive front is one of the more
inexperienced units the Pirates have faced this season. After losing
first-rounder Chris Long last year, the Cavaliers are starting two
freshmen on the defensive line.
Conversely, the defensive line is the most talented and deepest group on
the field for ECU. The defensive front must get up field and disrupt
Virginia's offensive line and backfield. The Cavaliers have a young
offensive line with only one senior starter.
Through five games, the Virginia offense has turned the ball over 14
times (9 interceptions and 5 fumbles.) That is almost three turnovers
per game. It’s hard to win ball games when you are giving it away so
often. The Pirates have turned the ball over 11 times through five
games. The team that can protect the football and not turn it over
should win this game.
The Pirates have the better team, but they have yet to get over losing to
in-state rival N.C. State three weeks ago. The Houston game was a big time
hangover from that loss. If they are truly the team they showed they could
be in early September, the time is now for the Pirates to reassert
themselves and reestablish control of their season. Patrick Pinkney started
the season on fire and will need to regain that form to lead this offense on
Saturday. On the other side of the ball, the loss of Quentin Cotton has been
tough, but seniors like Pierre Bell and Zack Slate need to get this defense
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10/10/2008 02:02:45 AM