Preseason Wish List
From the Anchor Desk
By Brian Bailey
Bailey: What I’d Like to See in 2001
Greetings from the sports desk at WNCT-TV as we get
set for another college football season.
I am back in the column writing business, courtesy of
Bonesville.net. I thoroughly enjoyed writing my column for Pirate’s Chest
for so many years, and now I look forward to this exciting new venture.
In each of the preseason columns for Pirate’s
Chest, I penned my thoughts about the things I really wanted to see
happen during that particular football season. Some of the things I wrote
about did in fact come true, some never materialized and other 'wishes' were
made just in good fun.
So now, for my debut column for Bonesville.net, I
present What I’d like to see in 2001:
Let’s start at quarterback, where I would love to see
David Garrard have a Heisman Trophy type season. Obviously, Garrard is the
longest of long shots when it comes to college football’s biggest honor.
Still, wouldn’t it be nice to see Garrard make that trip to New York at the
end of the season as one of the finalists for the award?
Garrard is one of my all-time favorite Pirates. He
always has a smile on his face, regardless of the situation. He is
confident, but not cocky. He enjoys his role as the Pirate’s leader, and
he’s just as comfortable behind center as he is in front of a microphone.
At media day recently, Garrard told me about his
goals for 2001.
“The main thing is that we have to win a Conference
USA championship,” he explained. “We have accomplished a lot, but it’s my
job to bring this school a conference title. And we’re going to do it this
That brings up another thing that I’d like to see in
In accordance with Garrard's plans, East Carolina
needs to win the C-USA title. The Pirates haven’t been to the Liberty
Bowl since 1995, and have yet to win a league championship as a true member
of Conference USA.
While the Pirates have the ingredients to challenge
for the crown, the task will be anything but easy.
Louisville and Southern Miss. are expected to be very
good teams this season. A quick look at the Pirate schedule brings U of L to
Greenville on November 15th, and the Golden Eagles to
Dowdy-Ficklen on the 23rd of November.
If the Pirates are in contention, as expected, then
the time right before Thanksgiving and right after the holiday will be some
of the most exciting times in years for ECU football.
Let’s hope it’s a holiday to remember.
I’d like to see the running game return to top form.
The Pirates have had great success on the ground, but that success has been
inconsistent at times.
Garrard says the running game is the key to the
passing game, and I agree. I’d like to see Leonard Henry vault to the top of
his game. Henry can be a punishing type of runner. Mix in a little Art Brown
or Marvin Townes for speed, and this could be a great year on the ground for
On defense, I’d like to see the Pirates improve
outside of the red zone in 2001. East Carolina did a nice job in scoring
defense in 2000, which is the bottom line. But it was more of a ‘bend but
don’t break’ mentality, especially after all of the injuries.
Pernell Griffin is also on my list of favorite
Pirates. Here’s another guy that always has a smile on his face, unless he’s
running down an opposing quarterback.
I’ve had a chance to cover Pernell since his days at
Williamston High School. I was especially proud when Pernell was named the
Preseason Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year. He is a guy who is
very proud of his roots in Williamston, and very proud that he’s able to
play football at East Carolina University.
I’d like to see the special teams at East Carolina
evolve into something truly special. Kevin Miller worked out all summer and
is in top shape to handle the placekicking duties. He hopes to return to the
form that made him one of the top kickers in the league as a freshman,
before a leg injury really hampered his play.
The Pirates have the athletes to dominate on special
teams. Add in Coach Steve Logan’s flair for excitement with on-side kicks
and fake field goals, and ECU could become the next college football team to
be known for great special teams play.
Coaches say you have to win every phase of the game
to be successful. That means offense, defense and special teams. The Pirates
have the tools, and I’d like to see East Carolina dominate in all three
phases in 2001.
Finally, I want to see you at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
in 2001. This team needs your support in each and every game. Be there
early, and be loud!
The football season is the best time of the year in
Greenville. The excitement of a new season, the tailgate planning, the
thoughts of leaves changing and the contemplation of cooler weather inspire
enough positive thoughts to transform any Pirate fan into gameday mode.
There is truly no place that I would rather be.
Wake Forest comes to town with new coach Jim Grobe on
September 1st. Thankfully, we have all survived another spring
and summer -- and now, we can point towards another football season.
Coming up later this week, I’ll preview the weekend
ahead in Conference USA, which features Louisville hosting New Mexico State
on Thursday night. On Saturday, TCU travels to Nebraska and Tulane is at BYU
as the college football season shifts into gear.
Football season is just about here, and I can’t wait!
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02/23/2007 01:19:23 AM