Keys to the
September 25, 2009
By Kevin Monroe
ECU vs. Central Florida
Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, 3:30 p.m.
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville
For the fourth
straight year, Kevin Monroe, color analyst for the Pirate ISP Sports
Radio Network, provides “Kevin’s Keys to The Game,”
his weekly breakdown of what East Carolina must do to beat its
Monroe brings a unique perspective to the task as a
member of the broadcast team and as a former star defensive
back for the Pirates (1995-99).
All Rights Reserved.
Carolina can defeat Central Florida if it accomplishes these key objectives:
Play with Passion
getting into the X's and O's of this game, one thing that has been
bothering me about the first three games of this season is the lack of
passion. East Carolina's players do care, and I am sure they want to
win, but winning football games is about much more. It's about the hot
summers running sprints; it's about the cold winters doing drills; and
it's about the brotherhood that you develop with your teammates
throughout the entire season.
When two teams of equal talent face off, like two weeks ago versus West
Virginia or last week versus North Carolina, the team that wants it more
usually comes out on top. That passion usually comes when your back is
against the wall late in the game. I am sure the Pirates have it in
them, but it has yet to show this season. The only victory this season
came against a less talented opponent which really just ran out of time.
If East Carolina wants to beat Central Florida and get on the road to
another Conference USA championship, the Pirates will need to dig deep
and use that passion when the time comes.
Through the first three games, it's no secret that
the Pirates have scored a total of five points in the second half of
those games. Two of those points came from a safety in the Appalachian
State game. The offense in the second half has been out of sync and not
Last week the Pirates did turn a corner in their progression. Even
though they only scored three points in the second half, they put
together three very solid drives. Patrick Pinkney looked the best he has
looked all season in those two quarters. One of the drives ended with a
missed field goal, the next with a made field goal and the last ended
with a turnover on downs. The offense needs to build upon that progress
and put some touchdowns on the board against UCF.
Better Secondary Play
In every game this season, East Carolina has given up at least one deep
ball for a touchdown. In the West Virginia game we saw three deep ball
touchdowns. Injuries to Emmanuel Davis and Levin Neal have made a huge
impact on this team's ability to defend the pass. Both guys are
questionable for ECU on Saturday, but, whether they play or not, the
secondary has to play better.
Playing defensive back means making choices: You can choose to play it
safe and keep everything in front of you; you can play aggressive and
jump all short routes; or you can be steady, not giving up deep balls
and picking your spots to jump short routes. Whichever style you employ
takes commitment — and a few of the Pirate DB's have yet to figure out
which choice to make.
at a crossroads in its season. The first three games haven’t gone quite as
the Pirates expected. They can either lower their heads and feel sorry for
themselves while loafing through the remainder of the season, or they can
come out of the corner fighting. Only time will tell what type of team the
Pirates will evolve into this season. Saturday’s game should give us a good
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09/25/2009 02:30:48 AM