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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 8, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Fans not the only ones looking forward to Saturday


East Carolina will conduct a couple of more practices this week to prepare for Saturday’s return of the Spring Game.

Coach John Thompson and his staff were to prepare a rough draft on Monday to choose up teams for the game. The coach says it’s important to get the players excited about playing the game.

I know that the Pirate faithful are excited about Saturday, and they're not alone in that enthusiasm.

“Now that you bring it up, I’m looking forward to it,” Thompson said. “I’ve been just so into this thing. I know it’s going to be a big, big deal. I’m absolutely looking forward to it.”

Physical spring

East Carolina Coach John Thompson enjoys putting his team through physical workouts. Saturday’s scrimmage certainly wasn’t a thing of beauty, but Thompson is finding out which players on this team really want to play football.

“We’ve put these guys through an awful lot over the last three weeks,” Thompson said on Saturday. “With the exception of the first three, which the NCAA says we have to go in shorts, they have all been physical. Today was the most physical and this group has really responded.

“There are a lot of good things going on,” Thompson continued. “We get frustrated at times but that’s ball. If everything was really good, then we wouldn’t need to practice. We’ve still got plenty of work to do.”

It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally found something that John Thompson and Steve Logan have in common. Both have similar feelings about the quarterback position, that it’s really just one of eleven positions on the offense.

“Whether it’s offense, whether it’s defense, whatever position — be it quarterback, running back, receiver — we are just looking for guys to compete and get better,” Thompson said. “We aren’t looking for who’s keeping their position. We are looking for who’s competing and who’s getting better.

"Paul (Troth) is competing and getting better. Desmond (Robinson) is competing and getting better. That’s a situation that we’re not spending a lot of time on right now; we’re just trying to get them better."

No longer just a blocking back

I asked Coach Thompson if there was one player that really stood out this spring. Thompson didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“Vonta Leach has had a great spring,” Thompson said. “He’s had big runs and blocking and he can do so many things. He is so valuable on special teams. You just love his personality and how he competes everyday.”

Leach was pretty much just a blocking back last season. This year, though, after an impressive spring carrying the football, Leach will find himself playing a bigger role in the offensive package.

Resurgence of the fade

The fade route is apparently back in the Pirates' offensive arsenal.

Paul Troth hooked up with Terrance Copper on a couple of nice plays for touchdowns on the fade route on Saturday.

“I love that pass,” Paul Troth said. “We look for the corner to come up and we know that Terrance can beat any back one on one. He’s just had a great spring and he’s catching everything that is thrown his way.”

If Copper needs any advice on how to run the fade, he’s got Larry Shannon, one of ECU's all-time greatest receivers, at practice everyday. Shannon, whose NFL career was cut short by injuries, is a graduate assistant coach on Thompson’s staff. It just so happens that his bread and butter was the fade route to the corner of the end zone.

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02/23/2007 01:25:08 AM

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