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Bailey's Take on Game Week
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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 28, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

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Signs Abound that Kickoff Is Near

©2001 Bonesville.net

First the freshmen report, then it’s the freshmen’s first practice, then comes the varsity, and media day and on and on….

The first true sign of game week though, is the weekly media conference at East Carolina.

Pirate Coach Steve Logan was in an upbeat mood on Monday afternoon as he faced the microphones and cameras. He seemed at ease, answering even the wackiest of questions with interest and enthusiasm.

Logan says this team is ready to play.

“There comes a point each summer when you need to go and play a game,” said Logan. “I think that we have reached that point. We just need to go out and play.”

Pirates Have Reason to Be Wary

East Carolina is a 21 1/2 point favorite in Saturday night's opener versus ACC neighbor Wake Forest in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Logan is similar to Lou Holtz in not taking any team lightly. This time he may have good reason.

New Deacon coach Jim Grobe brought eight assistant coaches to Winston-Salem from Ohio University, plus the school’s strength coach.

During Grobe's six years at Ohio, he rebuilt what had become one of the nation's weakest programs into a MAC title contender -- and the Bobcats gave Logan and the Pirates fits on the two occasions the teams met.

In 1996, ECU barely prevailed in Greenville 55-45. Two years later, the Pirates survived the Bobcats 21-14 on the road, scoring the game winning touchdown in the final minutes.

“Coach Grobe is one of the finest coaches in the business,” said Logan. “And I think he was pleasantly surprised with the talent base that he found at Wake Forest.”

Turnovers Can Upset the Equation

As far as talent goes, there is no comparison between East Carolina and Wake Forest. The Pirates have much better athletes, and if East Carolina takes care of business this should be an easy win.

Avoiding fumbles and interceptions is the key to not squandering the advantage.

“I always look at turnovers,” said Logan. “Any team in college football can beat any other team with the help of a couple of turnovers.

"We can’t turn the football over in any of our games this year and expect to win that game.”

A glance at the two quarterbacks in Saturday's contest best illustrates the contrast between the teams.

David Garrard has set a Conference USA championship as his goal for 2001. He is experienced and is in his fifth year of working with the complexities of the Pirate offense.

Anthony Young, the Deacon quarterback, came in last year as a true freshman in the third week of the season in the Clemson game. He is more of a runner, but can also throw the football in the Wake offensive scheme.

If the Pirates can confuse Young, the Deacons will be in for a very long night.

Martin Wound Up About ECU Receiving Corps

Pirate offensive coordinator Doug Martin was my guest on my first radio/cable show for the year on WCZI 98.3 FM and Cable 7 on Monday night.

If the offense is as good as Martin says that it can be, then look out!

“I really like our offense, especially our receivers,” Martin told me. “They all have a big play capability. I think they can be as good as the group that included Troy Smith, Mitch Galloway and Larry Shannon. They are that good.”

The collection of pass catchers whom Martin lumps into such favorable company includes Derrick Collier, Terrance Copper and Arnie Powell. If this corps of receivers meets the benchmarks set by their record-setting predecessors, this will be a great offense.

The football season is finally here! Get to the game early on Saturday afternoon, and treasure every second of a great day to tailgate!

Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

02/23/2007 01:19:24 AM
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