Brian Bailey Show airs on Pirate Radio 1250 each
Monday at 6:30 p.m. Brian's guest last night was
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Football seasons always fly by. With two games in five
days to start the year, the season really gets a kick start for Ruffin
McNeill and the East Carolina Pirates.
ECU was really good on offense in
the win over Old Dominion, but was still very suspect
on defense in the 52-38 shootout.
Time will tell the real story. Perhaps ODU quarterback
Taylor Heinicke was that good. Some said after the game that he may be
the best quarterback the Pirates see this season, and that would include
North Carolina's Bryn Renner.
Shane Carden was more than up for the task on Saturday
night. He continues to play like he was born to quarterback this offense
for Lincoln Riley.
Carden's touchdown pass on the last play of the first
half, and Ty Holme's fumble return at the start of the second half were
by far the two biggest plays in the opening night victory.
In retrospect, McNeill hinted at his weekly news
conference that he probably should have burned a timeout before the
play. The only thing that was burned was all of the remaining time in
the half. Carden saved the deal though, hitting freshman receiver Davon
Grayson with the touchdown pass to give East Carolina the 21-17 halftime
"It's kind of like back-yard football when you are
scrambling like that," Carden told me on Monday. I joked with him that I
used to make those same kinds of plays in neighborhood pickup games as a
kid. "I was just trying to make something positive happen and it worked
out," he said.
Two fumbles for touchdowns were also big in the win. Ty
Holmes had the scoop and score on a rare Taylor Heinicke mistake. Then
Jimmy Booth, the former J.H. Rose offensive and defensive lineman fell
on the pigskin in the Pirate end zone after a Vintavious Cooper fumble.
All games have plays that swing contests either way.
Those three plays were instrumental in the Pirate victory.
Coach McNeill will take the win and move on.
“It was great to get a win,” said McNeill. “It was great
to win a football game on Saturday. You’ve heard me say before, wins are
hard. After 28 years in the college business, 30 years overall, we
appreciate all wins and this one was a big one.”
Next up is Florida Atlantic on a short week. The Owls
lost at Miami to start the season. The birds come to Greenville as big
underdogs again this week for a Thursday night special in Greenville.
“We started planning for the short week the first of
June,” explained McNeill. “Our project during the summer for our
coaches, besides the scouting reports, was to start thinking about the
fall schedule. So we knew back in June that we needed to tap on the FAU
team a little bit because of the short week. It’s a quick turnaround.”
Thursday night game slot
is all about television, but in talking to the players and coaches after
the game you get the feeling they want to get back at it quickly anyway.
I don’t think they think we’ve seen anywhere close to the best this
Pirate team can play.
Prognosticators expect ECU to prevail over the Owls in
the Conference USA opener for both teams. The Pirates are as much as a
The Pirates will also unveil the team’s new black
uniforms on Thursday night. The black will reportedly stay in rotation
and be used at different times by this team.
I’ve been calling for black uniforms for a long time. It
looks good with the purple. I believe every other ECU team has some sort
of black look in its uniform, so why not football.
It’s a Thursday night “blackout” for the Pirates this
week in game two of this 2013 season.