TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
September 6, 2011
We've seen this before...
BRAIN BAILEY SHOW
Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW,
featuring guests DONNIE KIRKPATRICK
and LEE WORKMAN. Eastern North Carolina's longest running
sports radio call-in show airs each Monday
night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250 and
Pirate Radio Home
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East Carolina’s 56-37 loss
to No. 12 South Carolina had an eerily similar feel to a few Pirate
losses in 2010.
The scripts are certainly
similar. The Pirates get off to a great start, only to get blown out.
Dateline: September 18, 2010
East Carolina builds leads
of 10-0 and 17-7 on the road at Virginia Tech. The Hokies rallied, but
East Carolina still had a chance until Rashad Carmichael picked off
Dominique Davis and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown. Tech picked
off another pass late and won the game going away 49-27.
Dateline: October 3, 2010
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
East Carolina led UNC-Chapel
Hill 14-7 late in the second quarter and had the football looking to
extend that lead. Da’Norris Searcy picked off Davis and ran it back for
a touchdown to tie the game at halftime. North Carolina then outscored
East Carolina 28-3 in the second half, doing most of the damage on the
ground. The Tar Heels won the game 42-17.
Dateline: November 6, 2010
Greenville, North Carolina
East Carolina and Navy
traded shot after shot with the Middies leading 28-21 at halftime. The
Pirates then came out in the second half, fumbled on three of their next
four snaps... and the mind-boggling 76-35 rout by Navy was underway.
Dateline: September 3, 2011
Charlotte, North Carolina
That brings us to Saturday
night. The Pirates built a 17-0 lead and led 24-14 at halftime over
12th-ranked South Carolina. East Carolina took advantage of four
Gamecock turnovers to build that lead.
Unfortunately it was the
like the day after Christmas for East Carolina, as the Pirates returned
all of their first half gifts in a bizarre third quarter.
A fumble in the flat, a
ground ball in the shotgun, and a thief in the night in the middle of a
scrum later, and the Pirates 24-14 halftime lead had turned into a 35-24
deficit with still 10 minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Pirates did keep it
close for a while in the second half, but again a great start turns into
a blowout 56-37 loss.
Coach Ruffin McNeill
addressed the turnover issue early in his weekly news conference Monday.
audio clip in new window.]
"The one thing we know we
have to correct is the turnover ratio,” said McNeill. “We have to get
that fixed and we will. We already started making corrections last
night. We'll keep emphasizing what we've been doing in terms of drills
and exercises we're conducting in practice for both the offense and
Dominique Davis was adamant after the loss that turnovers wouldn’t
continue to be a problem.
“That’s the beauty of this
offense,” said Davis. “We can get those things corrected. We don’t think
we can be stopped as long as we don’t beat ourselves.”
Coach McNeill emphasized
protecting the football all through camp. He also emphasized being a
smart football team and playing hard. Two-thirds of the message rang
true as East Carolina had very few penalties and certainly battled South
Carolina until the final gun.
The Pirates held their own
against one of the favorites in the SEC. Now, East Carolina hosts one of
the favorites in the ACC.
McNeill and his Pirates
knew the schedule was front-loaded and that these two games were going
to be very difficult.
East Carolina will be a
big underdog again this week. The Pirates should have confidence in
knowing that they were right in last year’s game with the Hokies until
the turnover bug hit.
If McNeill and crew can
remedy this turnover bug, East Carolina certainly has a chance,
especially playing in front of the home fans.
"I believe in what we're
doing," said McNeill. "We've had a plan in place for a while and will
continue to improve. We're going to worry about East Carolina and make
sure we get better. We're going to focus on what I keep harping on —
continuing to play hard, fast and smart.
"These teams we're playing
don't give us room for mistakes. Any miscue can cost you like we saw
Saturday. We have to continue to take care of the ball on offense and
take it away on defense."
Ball security will be the
Pirate’s number one priority in preparing for Virginia Tech.
E-mail Brian Bailey.
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