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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

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

Let's talk football, Part I


I’ve officially joined the camp of football aficionados that are tired of talking about, examining, inspecting, studying and otherwise being completely obsessed with anything and everything to do with conference expansion.

So, this week, I’m talking football in both of my columns.

Up first, we’ll talk East Carolina offense. Later this week, we’ll center on the Pirate defense.

On offense, you start with the quarterback. I’ve been a Paul Troth fan since the first day that I met him. I think he can get the job done. I think he may be more comfortable with this coaching staff and I think you’ll see good things from Paul Troth.

Troth just didn’t’ complete enough passes in 2002 and it’s hard to be successful when you’re throwing 20 interceptions. But I think he will bounce back.

Desmond Robinson brings a lot of talent to the table as well. Don’t be surprised to see Robinson getting some time in several areas.

In the backfield, I love to watch Vonta Leach take the war to people. He should thrive in the fullback position, and he should make life much better for Art Brown. Leach rushed for 108 yards in April's Purple-Gold Game.

Brown’s not the biggest back in the stable, but he averaged over 100 yards per game last season. Marvin Townes should also help out, if his system can keep him in the game and healthy during crunch times.

The offensive line may be the team’s biggest strength. Two-time All-Conference USA tackle Brian Rimpf is simply a mountain of a man. He is a devastating blocker that should be playing on Sundays in the future.

Doug White, Charlie Dempsey, Brian Fox and Brandon Pope all return up front. These guys seem like they’ve been at East Carolina forever. Corey Schmidt and Hagen Mason will also provide much needed depth and experience.

At receiver, the star may be Terrance Copper, who was the best player on the field during the spring football game. Copper has always made big plays, both on offense and on special teams, and his talent will certainly be needed this coming season.

The Pirates will also look to utilize the tight end position more in 2003. Tutu Moye will begin the year at that position, although there are several other candidates, including former quarterback Kort Shankweiller, whose Dad left the ECU staff after former coach Steve Logan was fired.

Longtime Clemson assistant coach Rick Stockstill takes over the offense for first year coach John Thompson. If you remember, Thompson spent several weeks on a mission to hire what he calls the “right” guy.

Stockstill gets rave reviews from any coaching staff you talk to, from the ACC to the SEC, for his role with Clemson. Tiger fans say Stockstill will surely be missed this season in Death Valley.

Despite the team’s problems last year, the offense performed well enough for ECU to win more games then it did. It just seemed like all eleven players were never really on the same page at times.

Stockstill plans on correcting the glitches in 2003. This is his chance to be a coordinator and I think Pirate fans will like what they see with this offense this season.

Just thinking about the season gets me going! Tune in Friday as we look at ECU's prospects for improvement on the defensive side of the ball.

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02/23/2007 01:26:01 AM

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