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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, October 1, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Tweaks of O-line and running tactics in the works


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On paper, it just doesn’t look like the offensive line is playing very well for East Carolina.

Sometimes, though, statistics are deceiving. Pirate offensive line Coach Steve Shankweiler says it’s just a matter of this group meshing together.

“We have some outstanding talent on this line,” Shankweiler said. “We just haven’t meshed together as a unit. I think we will, though, because this is the same group that has played so well over the last couple of seasons.”

Head coach Steve Logan touched on a similar thread in his evaluation of the offensive line, especially when he talked about running the football.

“We have to remember that we have two very different running backs this year,” explained Logan. "Art Brown and Marvin Townes are very different then Leonard Henry. If you remember, it took Leonard almost a year to really understand the blocking lanes, and it took about that long for the offense to get the plays called to really show off Leonard’s strengths.”

Logan continued with his in-depth analysis of the running game:

"We've got some subtle changes that we need to make. For us it was a work in progress. For instance, with Leonard Henry, going back to his junior year where he had 800 yards running, and finally as we got enough information and definition on film, we changed the angle of departure of our offensive line and we gave Leonard one cut, that's it.

"Every time we found him running on film east-west, he got in trouble. Once we got him coached to be a north-south guy and to use his 215 pounds to his advantage, he jumps up and runs for 1,500 yards.

"We don't have that now — we've got two guys that are more Junior Smith-type running backs and we have to change some subtle things on the offensive line and play checks at the line."

Ironically, Junior Smith is on Todd Berry’s staff at Army. It will be good to see the former Pirate star back on the sidelines at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Berry’s return tough for Logan

Bowden Bowl IV is the feature game this Thursday night, when Florida State and Bobby Bowden take on Clemson and Tommy Bowden.

I asked Coach Logan this week if this match-up against his good friend Todd Berry was similar to Bowden Bowl IV.

Logan broke into a big smile before answering.

“No, I would really like to beat my Dad if we played,” joked Logan. “He’s not a football coach, but that would be a lot of fun. Playing against a guy that you’re so close to in the business, that’s a little more difficult.”

Logan says that it is a game featuring two very similar philosophies on both sides of the football.

"You can call each other's plays to a degree. Todd obviously worked here a long time and took this offensive idea. He has got his own wrinkles, additions and subtractions to it. But that is one of the reasons we are going out Tuesday and Wednesday and work against ourselves full speed. Because it will be a great picture for both sides of the ball."

ECU, Army among nation’s worst in turnovers

It’s a pair of struggling teams that will play in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday.

Forget the problems with running the football and stopping the run. The reason both of these football teams are losing is turnovers.

In the NCAA statistics, the Pirates are 116th in turnover margin. Army is ranked 117th.

There are 117 teams playing Division I-A football this season.

Statistics sometimes lie, but that one screams out the truth. If you turn the football over, you are destined to fail.

Here’s hoping things turn around for East Carolina on Military Appreciation Day at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium!

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02/23/2007 01:23:02 AM

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