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Bailey's Take on the Pirates

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 4, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Wake Shocker Still Stinging


The hurt was still most apparent in Coach Steve Logan’s eyes on Monday morning. The loss to Wake Forest put a damper on the holiday weekend at East Carolina.

Coach Logan had warned everyone that Wake Forest was bringing a talented football team to Greenville. Even he couldn’t predict how this one would turn out.

The Deacons ran for almost 300 yards on Saturday night. We’re not talking Nebraska, rather Wake Forest. The Deacs controlled the football the entire night.

From my vantage point it looked like the Pirates were just getting blown off the line of scrimmage. On Monday, though, Coach Logan said that wasn’t the case.

“Our main problem was in alignments, we had people in the wrong place on several plays,” Logan explained. “We really didn’t expect what we got from Wake Forest and it showed. It was comforting, today, to go and look at Tulane’s film to get an idea of what we will see this week.”

What the Pirates will see at Tulane is a Green Wave team with it’s own set of problems on defense. BYU lit the Wave up for 70 points in week one, while LSU connected for 48 more this past weekend.

Tulane is giving up 334.5 yards per game on the ground. That serves as the perfect remedy for the Pirate’s ground game, which netted a paltry 63 yards against Wake Forest. Tulane has been awful on defense. Let’s hope that trend continues this week.

Communication Problems

As bad as things were against Wake Forest, the Pirates still had several chances to win.

On the two-point conversion, replays show that David Garrard should have made the pitch to Richard Alston, who probably would have scored.

Then, down by two points, the Pirates went to a squib kick with just under four minutes to play in the game. Coach Logan said afterwards that there was a “mis-communication”, that Kevin Miller was supposed to kick deep if the Wake Forest “hands” team was in the game.

Miller apparently didn’t get the message, and went ahead with the squib kick.

The Deacons had two players at the twenty-yard line, with the rest of the unit up close, looking for the on-sides kick. A deep kick might have pinned Wake Forest deep. But then again, the Pirate defense would have had to stop the black and gold, something that didn’t happen all night long.

Griffin Upset with Himself, Pirate Defense

All-American candidate Pernell Griffin was also wearing his feelings on his sleeves on Monday afternoon. Griffin had a new school record 24 tackles against Wake Forest, but it came in a loss.

Pernell is usually full of smiles, but he failed to flash even the slightest sign of a grin at Monday’s weekly media gathering.

The most frustrating part of the night came in the final drive, when East Carolina couldn’t come up with a stop to get the football back.

“It really hurts,” Griffin said. “This is certainly not how I wanted to start my senior season. I can tell you this, though, that East Carolina will not give up 300 yards on the ground again this season, I guarantee it!”

Griffin went on to say that this will be a difficult assignment at Tulane, because the Green Wave will throw the football on just about every down.

The Wave, though, might try to take a page out of the Wake Forest playbook. Tulane could spread things out, and then run the football just like the Deacs did this past Saturday.

Crowd Looked Bigger then 36,794

For years I would always tease East Carolina officials about their attendance numbers. Several times in the early ‘90’s there would be no more then 18,000 fans in the stands, and the “official” attendance would be listed at closer to 30,000.

This year, though, something has changed. I really thought that the crowd was great on Saturday night, as far as attendance numbers go. I really looked for the crowd to be down because of the Labor Day holiday.

But finally, somebody must have wised up, because the lack of television for the home game kept folks in town and in the stands for the season opener.

In looking at the crowd, I really thought there might have been 40,000 in the stands. Still, it was the tenth largest crowd in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium history. The fans should be commended for coming out and doing their part on Saturday night.

Logan’s Keys for Tulane

Pirate Coach Steve Logan says that three things have to happen for the Pirates to win at Tulane.

The Pirates must stop the run on defense, run the football on offense, and cut down on the turnovers.

“We had several nice drives on Saturday, but we had some turnovers that just killed us,” Logan said. “We know we can run the football better, but we also have to stop the run.”

Regardless, this is a big game for this East Carolina football program. The goal is to win Conference USA, and that begins with the Tulane game.

The Pirate players, coaches and fans have to put the disappointment of the Wake Forest game behind them. The season is eleven games long.

There is still plenty of football ahead…..

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02/23/2007 01:19:26 AM

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