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In some ways the football season is a marathon.
In others it’s a September through November sprint.
This Pirate November features five games in 2013. The team's momentum
hangs in the balance as East Carolina heads to Miami to take on Florida
ECU goes into the game as a three-touchdown favorite. The Pirates are
a very solid performance as that same type of favorite
in the route of Southern Miss last week at home.
The Pirates will then come back home as a favorite to beat both Tulsa
and UAB before finishing the year with road tilts at North Carolina
State and Marshall.
Despite the Thundering Herd’s loss at Middle Tennessee, the matchup at
Marshall looms as the East Division championship game, unless MTSU holds
serve and there is a tiebreaker involved. Still, the Pirates control
their own destiny, and that’s really all you can ask for during this
final month of the football season.
With a win this week the Pirates become bowl eligible.
“It’s very important for us to be bowl eligible,” said ECU coach Ruffin
his weekly press conference.
“We’ve missed it one time since I’ve been here, but I haven’t missed it
many times during my coaching years, personally. It’s more important for
the team and the university. That is one of our goals.”
This Florida International team is just 1-6 on the season. I confess
that I don’t know a lot about the Panthers. I have seen former Pirate
coach Skip Holtz’s Louisiana Tech Bulldogs from earlier this year.
Skip’s team isn’t very good in his first year, but the Bulldogs beat FIU
last week 23-7.
Pirate quarterback Shane Carden understands the Pirates are big
favorites again. He knows his role and the role of his offense in games
“We just have to worry about ourselves,” said Carden. “We have to
execute the little things and the big plays will come.”
Carden said he enjoyed the Saturday off — until Saturday came and he
wasn’t playing a game.
“When I was watching all of the other teams playing, I really missed
it,” he said. “I think we are all ready to get back after it.”
The Pirates handled the role of big favorites very well in the win over
Southern Miss. Coach McNeill says his team has to keep focused and not
listen to the negatives or the positives.
“I keep harping on that,” explained McNeill. “I think what happens, and
whether it’s a negative or a positive, you tend to look at that. If they
believe in me and trust me, like I think they do, they’ll only be
concerned with what I tell them. I’ll tell them when they do well, I’ll
tell them when they need to work on something, and I’ll tell them I love
them in between, because I have no hidden agenda but to make sure
they’re successful here.
"It’s hard, but I keep preaching it
because it’s important that we grasp it. I think the noise can get them
off base about what goals they have. It’s a never-ending battle but I
emphasize it daily.”
That emphasis will continue.
Maness looks to bounce back
Seth Maness wishes he had one pitch to Johnny Gomes back in his pocket.
The pitch came in game four of the Fall Classic. Maness came in to try
and get Gomes to hit a ground ball. But Maness had a sinker that didn’t
sink. The pitch got up, and then out of the park.
It was the key play in a 4-2 Boston win that evened the World Series at
two games apiece.
Maness was obviously shaken when he spoke to reporters after the game.
He told the mass around his locker that pitchers have to have “short
Maness will need a short memory. Hopefully he will get another chance,
I’m not rooting for either team, but I’d love to see Maness get a ground
ball double play to end the series. It’s been fun watching the former
Pirate, who now has to bounce back when called upon.