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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, December 31, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Herrion game plan 'on time'


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I had a chance to interview Bill Herrion earlier this week at practice. When Coach approached me, I joked that I was at least 45 seconds early.

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Herrion didn’t see the humor in the comment. He politely chuckled, but you could tell that his decision to discipline two of his players for being 45 seconds late was to send out a message. There was nothing funny about being late.

Herrion’s message is crystal clear. Hard work and discipline is a winning combination.

The Pirates improved to 8-1 on the season with Tuesday night’s 87-50 trouncing of Radford. Herrion seems to be delighted with just how hard this team is playing.

“I’m just real pleased with this team’s effort,” said Herrion. “The kids are playing extremely hard for 40 minutes. I think in the past we’ve been a team that would play hard in spurts and then we’d drop off.”

This year’s team isn’t “dropping off” at all. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find any Pirate teams in the past that played any harder.

East Carolina gave up just 21 first half points against Radford. Still, the Pirate coach didn't go into the locker room smiling.

“I wasn’t real happy at halftime,” Herrion said. “I felt, physically, they were moving our big guys around so we got after them a little bit.”

Herrion continued, “If we are going to try to compete in Conference USA and be a player in this league, guess what? It’s a very physical league and we have to play that way.”

Herrion’s teams have always won with defense. If you watch Herrion on the Pirate bench, he orchestrates his defense like a conductor in front of the string section.

“When we guard tough and rebound, then we can run,” explained Herrion. “That’s why we are shooting a high percentage from the floor. We are taking and making our share of high percentage shots.”

Herrion’s plan for this season has been played out to perfection thus far. There was that minor hiccup at George Mason, but this team is 8-1 with one more non-conference game to go at Ole Miss.

“We play in a very difficult league,” said Herrion. “If we don’t win our non-conference games and get our head above water in November and December, then things really get tough in January and February.”

Last year Herrion and the Pirates knew that the bulk of their wins would come with that non-conference slate. That’s not a part of the Herrion plan this year, though.

“We are really trying to build an attitude, a mentality that we are trying to get ready for league play,” Herrion explained. “This year we want to continue to build off of our non-conference wins.

"We have a few more pieces this year. We’re running more; we’re penetrating more and getting better shots. I think we should all be happy that we are 8-1, but we have plenty of work to do.”

Herrion is all set to gear up for the league challenges ahead. His words to the team on Tuesday night spoke volumes.

“I told the kids to put the helmet on, put the chinstrap on, put the mouthpiece in, put your shoulder pads on. It’s coming! Hopefully, we’ll be ready for it.”

And with the helmet and chin strap, the players also had better hope their watches work. If I were a Pirate, I’d set mine to Herrion’s and not take any chances!

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02/23/2007 01:25:30 AM

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