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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

"Boo-birds" have short memories



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THE BRIAN BAILEY SHOW airs live at 7 PM each Monday night on WCZI 98.3 FM, the Flagship Station of the East Carolina Pirates. If you miss the live version, and have teamed up to make the audio archive of the show available on demand the next day on Bonesville Internet Radio.







The “Boo-Birds” were out at times this past Saturday, as East Carolina fell to 2-4 on the year with a 46-30 Homecoming loss to South Florida.

Personally, I don’t think it’s fair to boo Paul Troth, the young Pirate quarterback. After all, he wasn’t the one trying to block those South Florida linemen on the edge.

Coach Steve Logan reminded us all about another Pirate quarterback who heard his share of boos early in his role as the ECU quarterback.

At times early in his career, Jeff Blake couldn’t do anything right. One minute he would show a flash of brilliance, and then he would follow that up with some boneheaded play.

I remember thinking to myself that perhaps Blake just didn’t have “it”, whatever “it” was.

Blake had that same look on his face that now sits with Paul Troth. It’s a look of frustration, but if you look deep into that look you might catch a glimpse of something great.

“What Paul did against the 17th ranked defense in the country last weekend was something,” said Pirate Coach Steve Logan. “Oklahoma couldn’t do it. Arkansas couldn’t do it. The points that those teams put up against South Florida were on special teams or defense, not offense.”

Sure, Troth isn’t the athlete that Jeff Blake was. But neither was Danny Gonzalez, who put up big numbers when he took over the Pirate offensive package.

This is a learning process. It’s almost as if the Pirate quarterback takes one-step forward, and then two backward. The stat sheet says he played a great game on Saturday.

Troth thinks otherwise. “I would have booed me if I was watching,” Troth said. “I know that I made some mistakes, but we as a team have to try and get through all of them.”

Logan explained after the game on Saturday that Troth wasn’t moving up in the pocket. His passes were designed for him to drop back, and then step up into the pocket. The lineman were supposed to block to the outside, forming the pocket around Troth. But several crucial breakdowns resulted in a couple of sacks and key fumbles.

The situation was corrected for the second half, but by then the tone was set.

Working with young quarterbacks is like trying to shovel snow off the sidewalk during a blizzard. Every time you think you have a path cleared, a fresh batch of snow falls. Eventually, the stormy times stop and it all comes together, but it does take a while.

For Coach Logan, it’s his fourth trip in what he calls the cycle.

First, there was Jeff Blake, and then Marcus Crandell, followed by David Garrard. Each pattern was similar, though it can be argued that for all of Garrard’s talent, he never really got the entire package down pat.

“It is a journey,” Logan explained. “Anybody that has ever taught anything at all, you can’t do it all in a day. You just have to be patient and put it on, layer after layer after layer. About the time you think you have it all taught, there is something new to teach."

Coach Logan went into great detail about just how much he enjoys working with young quarterbacks. I was amazed that, with this team at 2-4, Logan can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll expand on that though in this column later this week.

Some may say that it’s “coach-speak”, that Logan is just trying to stay positive.

But I say Logan has seen it before. He was there for Blake, for Crandell, for Garrard, and now he’s there for Paul Troth.

Pirate fans need to keep the faith. The coach is three for three so far.

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02/23/2007 01:23:06 AM

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