Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather

Sponsor BRIAN BAILEY'S From The Anchor Desk and put
your message in front of thousands of hard-core Pirate fans!

Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Friday, July 11, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Let's talk football, Part II


As was the case earlier in the week, when I shunned realignment to concentrate on East Carolina's 2003 prospects on offense, I'm still not falling for the temptation to talk about conference expansion.

With John Thompson's first game as head coach of the Pirates just weeks away, there are more practical topics to consider than whether ECU will find itself in in new league in a couple of years.

For this column, we'll take a look at the Pirates' defensive possibilities.

Thompson is a defensive coordinator. Jerry Odom loves defense. These two men will be the main cogs in turning this entire program around on the defensive side of the football.

Funny how things can go south so quickly. Just two years ago, then Pirates defensive coordinator, Tim Rose, was a finalist for the national assistant coach of the year award.

Rose will be the first to tell you that things were bad for ECU on the defensive side of the football. No one was more frustrated.

Enter Thompson and Odom. Sometimes new blood can put a whole new spin on a problem. Pirate football fans certainly hope the Sunshine State boys can get the job done.

The strength of this defense appears to be at linebacker. Chris Moore, from Havelock, was having a record-setting season before his injury. Josh Chilsom also had an outstanding season last year. Those two were the top returning tacklers from last year. Add in the names of Kent Nealy and Eric Butler, and the linebacking corps looks to be a good one.

On the defensive line, Damane Duckett looks to be a star this season. At a basketball game just after his hiring, Coach John Thompson reportedly saw Duckett and reacted to just how big he was. When he was told that Duckett was one of his starting defensive linemen, Thompson smiled from ear to ear.

There are only six-letterman returning to man the four positions on the defensive line. Look for Richard Koonce to battle for one of the spots.

The secondary has really struggled over the past couple of years. There appears to be talent back there, but this unit has had all kinds of problems in the past.

Travis Heath leads the group in the defensive backfield. Heath is a big time playmaker, and should really help the overall defensive effort this season.

Cornerback Reiko Jones shined as a true freshman, and should be that much better with a year behind him.

I really like what Thompson has said about his philosophy on defense. I agree with his contention that defensive secondary play begins with putting pressure on the quarterback.

If the opposing quarterback is being hounded on every play, then I might be able to cover the other team’s receivers.

Come to think of it, last year it looked like I actually was covering the other team’s receivers!

With that said I believe that this football team will be much better on defense this season. There is just so much passion for that game that John Thompson and his staff brings to the table.

Ryan Dougherty will handle the punting this season for East Carolina. But replacing the school's all-time-leading scorer, Kevin Miller, won’t be easy. Going into summer practice, Cameron Broadwell and Chris Baglio are expected to battle for the place kicking job.

Don’t look now, but August is just around the corner. The freshman will report, the vets will come in, and all of a sudden we’ll be talking about East Carolina’s opener with Cincinnati!

Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:26:01 AM

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.