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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

By Brian Bailey


“Boy Wonder” expects more of his offense

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Sometimes things just come a little too easily.

That may have been the case in East Carolina’s 49-27 win over Memphis on Saturday. The Pirates combined a defensive score with three touchdowns from the offense, and led 28-3 in the first quarter.

The blowout was on, but the Pirates were hoping to put the game away a little quicker.

“I would give us a ‘B’ offensively,” said offensive boss Lincoln Riley, the youngest coordinator in the nation. “We had a lot of opportunities and we should have scored more points.”

Two weeks certainly don’t make a season, but through two games East Carolina has racked up some impressive statistics.

The Pirates are 7th nationally in scoring (50/game), 5th in 1st downs (27/game) and ranked 1st in the nation in red zone efficiency at 100 percent.

The most telling stats are in turnovers. Through two games, the Pirates have yet to lose a fumble and the team is ranked 7th nationally in turnover margin with a +2.

The Pirates have acquired all of these sparkling numbers with a brand new staff and after losing 28 players from a year ago.

Still, Riley and the offense are anything but satisfied.

“We didn’t do enough when we had the chance,” Riley said. “We really should have put this game away quicker and I’m really disappointed about that.”

As disappointed as Riley was about not putting the game away early, the young coordinator was pleased that all phases were clicking for the Pirates against the Tigers.

“The best thing to see was that the defense came out,” Riley added. “They really played well. That was the first time in a game that we have gotten on all three sides and really went on a run. Last week it was just hit or miss, hit or miss. But this time we got off to a really good run. I really thought the defense played well all day.”

Riley took the blame for some of the offensive lull in last week’s game. Even with that lull, the Pirates were able to rack up huge numbers.

"I think I did a poor job of getting their intensity, their urgency up,” Riley added. “Every time this year that our guys have really thought that we had to score, we have been able to. I think they got it at the end (against Tulsa). I think they knew that we had to get a score to answer a couple of times. I think we lost that sense of urgency and as the head of the offense I have to do a better job.”

Next up for Riley and his offense is Virginia Tech. The Hokies, ranked in the Top Ten in preseason, have stumbled out of the gate with losses to Boise State and FCS member James Madison. The Dukes win in Blacksburg takes away any thoughts about this Tech team overlooking the Pirates this week.

“We face a Virginia Tech team that has had two tough losses,” said Pirate head coach Ruffin McNeill at his Monday press conference. “They lost a game to Boise State that really had a great buildup, starting from last year’s bowl games. A lot of people and the media pointed to it as a big game, which it was. James Madison came in and it was definitely an upset.

"I’m not sure why or what caused it, but I know Coach (Frank) Beamer and have known him since 1989. I had a chance to go up there and study with him and his staff when I was at Appalachian State. Bud Foster, the defensive coordinator, is really a great, great coach. I know those guys are not happy with where they are and I know they will do a great job getting that team together.”

McNeill’s theme on Monday was that he had to get his Pirates to control what they can control. He said he looks forward to taking his team on the road for the first time.

It will be a learning experience for sure.

We’re just two weeks in and we’ve seen East Carolina beat Tulsa on a “Hail Mary” on the game’s last play, and we’ve seen JMU stun Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

Hang on, because that’s why they play the games…


E-mail Brian Bailey.

Brian Bailey Archives

09/14/2010 03:50 AM


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