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Bailey's Take on Conference USA

From the Anchor Desk
Friday, December 7, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

It's Spring Time in December for Pirates


Back on the Field

It certainly was good to see the footballs flying at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Thursday afternoon.

Coach Steve Logan can only hope for this kind of weather for Spring practice. Temperatures in the 70’s gave this a “Spring Football” type of feel.

Logan has always used the bowl practices to work with the younger players. It was interesting to see all of the seniors after practice, watching the young players in a live scrimmage.

“This gives us a great chance to get ready for the Spring,” said Logan after practice. “We give the defense two or three different sets, and the offense a handful of plays, and then we have at it. They have worked hard and this gives us a chance to give them an extra look.”

The football season is a marathon of workouts and practices. With that in mind, you might think that many on this Pirate team would just as soon sit out the bowl season. That wasn’t the case at all on Thursday.

“I was really surprised, that it looked like we came back without a lot of rust,” said quarterback David Garrard. “Our routes were pretty sharp, and now it’s just a matter of keeping the timing as we go to Mobile.”

Spring has certainly come early to Eastern North Carolina. Or at least a taste of it this December has really been nice.

Expect Different Styles in GMAC Bowl

I really expect the Thundering Herd to get a big dose of another kind of Thunder in this GMAC Bowl. The Herd hasn’t stopped the run all season and no team has stopped Leonard Henry in 2001.

On the other hand, the Pirates are gearing up for an all out assault through the air by Marshall.

“They aren’t afraid to go to the shotgun and throw the ball 40 or 50 times,” said Logan. “Our defense is in for a real challenge.”

Logan may even have to re-think his strategy on offense. If he keeps the football in Leonard’s hands then he runs huge chunks of time off of the clock.

Logan would much rather score in one play then in 15 plays. The Pirates, however, have shown that they can’t keep pace in a scoring fest.

 “We have something to prove,” said Henry. “I really think that we will be focused in Mobile. We’ll have fun, but we know that we have a job to do. You haven’t seen the best Pirate football this year just yet.”

Rev up the L-Train in Mobile, and ride Mr. Henry to the GMAC Bowl title!

Southern Miss, TCU Battle for Final Berth

The exact scenario that we talked about early last week somehow played itself out: The only Conference USA bowl slot still to be decided is Houston's Bowl, with the winner of tonight’s Southern Miss-TCU game getting the invitation.

The Golden Eagles are a ten-point favorite, but the Horned Frogs stunned Louisville to get back into the bowl chase.

Jeff Bower certainly didn’t make any friends at the GMAC Bowl with his comments last week after the folks in Mobile snubbed his Golden Eagles.

Those remarks may come back to bite the Golden Eagle coach. You have to think that the GMAC may certainly look another way next year, even if Southern Miss is in the running.

Here’s hoping that TCU pulls another upset. The Bowl would then get TCU vs. Texas A&M in their bowl. An all Texas match-up would certainly help the Houston cause.

Battle in Bama

If you’re a tee shirt or cap buff, you have to like the “official” tee shirt and cap logo. The game is referred to as the “Battle in Bama.”

It features both teams’ helmets with the bowl logo between the teams. It probably won’t sell as well as the Peach Bowl shirts sold after the 1991 football season, but it is a nice logo.

By the way, how many of you still have your Peach Bowl caps or tee shirts? Somehow, you just can’t throw away a memory of a lifetime, can you?

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02/23/2007 01:19:57 AM

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