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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Friday, October 4, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

'Turnover Bowl' appropriate name for Saturday battle


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The two worst teams in the nation in turnover margin will square off on Saturday in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

We’ve talked all year about East Carolina's problems with turnovers. The only team of 117 in the nation worse than the Pirates is Army.

Last week, the Black Knights played a pretty good game against Southern Mississippi. However, seven interceptions against the Golden Eagle defense were just too much to overcome.

The Pirates are at minus-9 in turnover margin, while Army sits at minus-10.

East Carolina has yet to recover from the monsoon of turnovers it suffered in its first two games, at Duke and at Wake Forest.

Paul Troth says it all starts at his position.

“I think I’m getting better,” said Troth. “I also think the offense is coming on. But again, we have to take care of the football and that begins with me.”

Look for the team that best takes care of the football to come away with a win on Saturday. Don’t expect a mistake-free game, but hopefully for East Carolina the Army turnover problems will continue.

Despite the turnover issue, ECU has been installed as a 21-point favorite. The last time the Pirates were a double-digit favorite they lost at Duke.

Players take responsibility on defense

Don’t think for a minute that East Carolina’s problems on defense didn’t sting each player in its own way.

I talked to several players this week about the problems on defense, and each one said it was a combination of problems. The think I was most impressed with, though, is that these guys also took responsibility for the disaster on defense against the Mountaineers.

“Some of it may have been schemes and execution, but we still have to tackle better regardless,” said Pirate linebacker Ja’Waren Blair.

Blair and several others showed their displeasure in their play against the Mountaineers.

From what I have been able to figure out, there were some problems both in scheme and in effort, and both were to be corrected this week in practice.

“We fared much better with our blitz package,” said Pirate coach Steve Logan. “We had some young linebackers on the back side not doing what they were supposed to do. We fared much better in our blitz packages, because we took the thinking out of the mix. Unfortunately, you can’t blitz on every down.”

Some of the players hinted that they didn’t think practices were “physical enough” of late.

“When I first got here, we hit in every practice,” said Blair. “We used to carry that same mentality into the games. I thing we’ll get back to that same practice this week.”

Logan hinted at something similar.

“We have lots of work to do, and it begins on the practice field,” he said.

Look for Todd Berry to run that same shotgun draw that worked so well for the Mountaineers last week. The Pirates, though, should be able to shut it down after plenty of work in practice this week.

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02/23/2007 01:23:03 AM

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