Keys to the
October 31, 2008
By Kevin Monroe
ECU at Central Florida
Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008, 8:15 p.m.
Bright House Networks Stadium
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 Central Florida if it accomplishes these key objectives:
Keep the Chains Moving
Carolina got a much needed victory two weeks ago against Memphis by
playing tough defense and getting first downs. It didn’t hurt that the
Tigers lost their top two quarterbacks in the first quarter. ECU has
returned to the two-quarterback system that it used all of last season.
It’s not the most optimal situation, but the Pirates did win eight games
Patrick Pinkney has struggled some over the last few weeks and Rob Kass
has stepped in and picked up some of the slack. Neither guy is setting
the world on fire, but the key to this week’s game is to keep the
defense off the field by getting first downs and keeping the chains
moving. The running game has been the one saving grace of the offense
recently, but the suspension of Jonathan Williams will be a big blow.
The Knights have started a freshman (Rob Calabrese)
at quarterback the last three weeks while previous starter Michael Greco
was injured. Greco is now healthy but still may be second string versus
the Pirates. East Carolina needs to increase the pressure on the passer.
Defensive ends Zack Slate and C.J. Wilson have played hard, but the
D-line hasn’t gotten enough sacks or quarterback pressures. Things have
been tough trying to replace Quentin Cotton, but there is still enough
talent on defense to make big plays. The secondary needs work, but the
best medicine for an ailing secondary is a good pass rush.
Control the Trenches
Central Florida started five senior offensive lineman last season and
junior running back Kevin Smith tucked in behind them and led the nation
in rushing. This offensive line does have some experience but the
starters were all back-ups last year. QB pressure is important, but
penetration in the backfield to disrupt the running game is just as
Offensively, the Pirates will have their hands full. Central Florida is
number one in Conference USA in rushing offense and passing efficiency
defense. The Knights' defensive line causes havoc and makes it tough for
opposing teams to run or pass effectively. The only way to beat them is
control the line of scrimmage on offense and defense.
This has been a rocky season for the Pirates but two conference wins have
put them in good shape. The Golden Knights have also had it tough, but they
haven’t exactly had the easiest schedule. This is a decent ball club that
has played tough games on the road. If the Pirates want to keep pace with
Marshall in the battle for first place in
C-USA's East Division, they will
have to put forth a total team effort on Sunday night.
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10/31/2008 12:48:23 AM