Keys to the
October 2, 2009
By Kevin Monroe
ECU at Marshall
Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009, Noon
Joan C. Edwards Stadium
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).
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Carolina can defeat Marshall if it accomplishes these key objectives:
Corral Darius Marshall
The Pirates will be facing their toughest test yet from an opposing
running back. Marshall's Darius Marshall is leading the country in
rushing. He rushed for a career high 203 yards rushing last week versus
Memphis to take his average up to 166 yards per game. East Carolina
played better against Central Florida's running game than they did the
week before versus North Carolina, but Marshall is a whole different
animal. At 5-10, 190 pounds, he has size and speed and usually doesn’t
let one tackler bring him down. The Thundering Herd, averaging only 166
yards passing per game, would much rather hand the ball off to Marshall
than put it in the air. Defenders will have to stay in the rush lanes,
be disciplined and tackle better in order to handle the Herd running
Eliminate Mental Mistakes
In order to win games in the conference and on the
road you have to strive to play mistake-free football. It's not the
physical mistakes that matter most because those are going to happen.
Guys will miss tackles, drop passes, not hold a block long enough —
those things are part of the game and coaches can live with that as long
as you are giving your best effort. What coaches can’t live with are
mental mistakes. We have seen several busted coverages in the secondary,
missed alignments and assignments, and improper reads. This is a very
experienced and veteran team entering its fifth game of the season. To
be successful on Saturday, those mental mistakes will have to be
Involve the Playmakers
In last Saturday’s game we got to see the reemergence of Dwayne Harris.
He had 10 receptions for 121 yards along with 3 rushes for 27 yards.
Harris also had 2 touchdowns on the day. He showed us his big play
ability as a sophomore and junior but — up until last week — he had been
bottled up this season.
Brandon Jackson scored a touchdown on his first carry as an ECU running
back and we have seen spurts of his talent ever since. With Dominique
Lindsay hurt and Jonathan Williams having fumble problems, the Pirates
will be counting on Jackson to carry the load and make some big plays.
Jamar Bryant missed most of last season and his start this season has
been very slow. He is a starter, but doesn’t appear to be a major focal
point in the offense. East Carolina needs a deep threat to stretch the
field and Bryant can be that guy.
With Southern Miss losing to UAB Thursday night, the Pirates and Herd will
be battling for sole possession of
first place in Conference USA's East Division.
The two teams have played very close games in Huntington and Greenville the
last two years. I don’t believe Saturday will be much different. Marshall
will look to establish the run and the Pirates will look to contain it.
Offensively, the Pirates have to try to get into a comfortable mix of run
vs. pass and allow their big play guys to make plays.
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10/02/2009 03:18:30 AM