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        Bailey's Take on the Pirates
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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 25, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

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With Orange Offense, Pirate Defense
Both Struggling, What Will Give?

©2001 Bonesville.net

This week was supposed to be an off-week for East Carolina. Now, it is anything BUT a chance to take a break.

The Pirates will head to Syracuse this weekend as a six-point underdog against the Orangemen at the Carrier Dome. Both teams say they have something to prove in this game.

One look at the NCAA statistics shows that this should be a most entertaining game. The Orangemen can’t throw the football, and the Pirates have struggled against the run.

Syracuse is 106th in the nation in passing offense, and 100th in the nation in total offense.

East Carolina is 95th against the run, and 99th in total defense.

The Orange game plan will be to line up and try to run the football right down the Pirates' throats. If ECU plays play defense like it did against Wake Forest and William & Mary, then the Orange will do just that.

The Pirate coaching staff realizes the team has some problems on defense.  And no one is more frustrated than Defensive Coordinator Tim Rose.

For Rose, defense is a passion and when his team isn’t playing well, he takes it very personally.

“We’ve just got to keep working on the things that we do well,” said ECU Defensive Coordinator Tim Rose on my weekly radio show on Monday night.

“We have great athletes on defense, but we haven’t jelled as a unit as of yet. I think that we’ll get better and better throughout the year, and by the end of the season we will be a good defensive team.”

Rose is also a believer that statistics are for losers.

“We gave up late touchdowns in both the Tulane and William and Mary games,” Rose said. “We certainly didn’t want to give up those scores, but those late touchdowns really throw the stat sheet out of whack.”

That’s Entertainment!

For years I have heard Pirate fans talk about Steve Logan’s lack of emotion. The Pirate head coach sometimes stands at one end of the field, while his team is at the other — for that, some say he lacks fire.

That couldn’t be any further from the truth. Just ask any football official that might visit Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

After the game, Logan said he was “entertaining” the officials during heated exchanges after a couple of questionable calls. Logan was absolutely irate! His eyes bulged out of his head and he was screaming with that high pitched, Oklahoma accent.

I could watch that video tape a million times. For whatever reason, I have always liked a good argument. Just ask my wife.

To me, it shows the passion that you put into something.

Football is an emotional sport. Coach Logan is an emotional leader. He put his heart on his sleeve and he argued two very questionable calls with all of the passion that he could muster.

Now that IS entertainment

Pirate Special Teams are Special

While the Pirate defense has struggled, the East Carolina special teams couldn’t play any better. Great teams have great special teams, and the Pirates have been very solid in that aspect of the game.

"I've been incredibly pleased with the way [punter Jarad Preston] has gotten off to a good start in our program,” said Coach Logan. “Our special teams is a very bright spot for us right now.

"I'm not talking about just the punter or just the kicker, although those two men are performing well. We've had one miscue in three games and that was a bad snap down at Tulane.”

Marvin Townes is developing into some kind of return man. He is literally a threat to take it the distance on every return.

Townes is currently ranked fifth in the nation in kick-off returns, averaging 32 yards per return.

“I try not to think about anything,” Townes explained. “I just take off and go on instinct. That’s what Keith Stokes did so well last year, and that’s what I am going to try and do throughout my career at East Carolina.”

Not Looking Ahead, But…

North Carolina’s stunning win over 5th ranked Florida State puts a whole new light on the ECU-UNC game on October 6th.

Before the season, many felt that the Pirates would simply overmatch the Heels, that winning would be easy in Chapel Hill.

Ask the Seminoles just how easy it was.

The renewal of the long-dormant gridiron rivalry between the Pirates and Tar Heels will be emotional enough. But add in the fact that John Bunting’s staff is filled with Pirate ties and this game will be off the emotional scale.

We’ll talk much more about that, next week.

I’m hoping the Pirates win in Syracuse and the Heels take care of business in Raleigh. Then we’ll get set for a showdown at the Hill!

Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:19:32 AM
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