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
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
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
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!
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