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Bailey's Take on Conference USA

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, November 21, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Pirate Players Are Resilient — and Ready


ECU Looks to Bounce Back in Finale

The mood at Pirate camp on Monday was more positive then I expected.

I really thought Coach Steve Logan looked a bit weary, but he answered every question with respect and enthusiasm. Coach Logan has always said that the players handle losses much better then the rest of us, and that apparently was the case again this time out.

"The kids usually are the first to rebound and they did that Sunday,” he explained, alluding to the players' rapid rebound after Thursday night's close loss to Louisville. “It was disappointing, but at the same time, there's a lot of disappointment that comes and goes in November to everybody. There are very few teams that escape unscathed and we weren't one of them this year. We've got a huge game coming up and we'd better get focused on that. I'm confident that we'll do that."

The Pirates will also say goodbye to an outstanding senior class on Friday morning. It is a very talented group, and a group that had to be devastated with not bringing a conference title to the school during their time at East Carolina.

Three That I will Especially Miss

I will especially miss David Garrard, Leonard Henry and Pernell Griffin. The three players were all from Eastern Carolina, and all made their own mark on the program.

David has faced every tough question since his debut as the Pirate quarterback. I still remember my first interview with Garrard. It came after the Spring game following his redshirt year.

I commented then on how polished he was. He was genuinely nice and polite, and really made every answer count.

He did the same with the lights shining after the Louisville game. He answered every question. If there ever was a stand-up guy, it’s David Garrard.

Leonard Henry didn’t like how a reporter once took his comments out of context, and decided to no longer do post game interviews after his sophomore season.

He did do an interview with us after the Bowl last season, and explained that he concentrated more by not talking to the media.

As I have said in this column before, Leonard was an intern of ours at WNCT-TV this past winter. He was a joy to be around, and we have become good friends since working together.

Pernell Griffin was one of the most highly recruited players to come to East Carolina University. Pernell was also a stand-up guy, who never missed an interview request.

I always liked Pernell’s smile. He would flash it in an instant, and then go about the business of making a tackle. He leaves as the leading tackler in Conference USA history.

Here’s hoping that all three players are in the NFL next season. If character is a deciding factor, then all three will certainly be playing on Sundays.

Early Morning Start Will Be Odd

Friday morning’s 11 a.m. start for the East Carolina-Southern Miss game will be quite out of the ordinary.

East Carolina Sports Information Director Craig Wells has already announced that breakfast will be served as the pre-game meal in the press box on Friday. He says that lunch will come at half-time.

It just won’t be the same for tailgating on Friday. Bar-b-cue and beer will be replaced by scrambled eggs and orange juice.

We may even find some new things to do with that leftover turkey for tailgating!

Conference USA Power Rankings [112101]

1. Louisville — Cards are 10-1 and ranked 17th in the nation. The Conference USA champs need a big win against TCU and a big bowl win to help the league down the road.

2. East Carolina — Pirates still the only league team with one conference loss. Win over Southern Miss sends the Pirates to Mobile for the bowl game.

3. Southern Miss — Golden Eagles are the best of the league teams with two losses, by a long-shot.

4. UAB — Blazers don’t travel well, but still have bowl hopes.

5. Cincinnati — Bearcats still have a shot at 7-4 record.6.      Memphis- Tigers need a win over Cincy for winning record.

7.  TCU — Horned Frogs still have Louisville and Southern Miss Ouch!

8. Army — Cadets looking forward to Army-Navy game.

9.  Tulane — Green Wave would be the worst team in any other conference.

10. Houston — Saves Tulane from last place slot... Cougars on pace for “perfect” season.

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02/23/2007 01:19:51 AM

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