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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports



From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Mission: Derail DeAngelo Express


For the second straight week the Pirates will try and shut down one of the league’s top running backs. Last week, it was Eric Shelton from Louisville. This time out, it’s DeAngelo Williams from Memphis — and this week will be a much more difficult assignment.

Williams enters the East Carolina game coming off a career high 195 yards in the Tigers' win over Tulane last week. Memphis won that game 41-9.

Last week against Louisville, the Pirates were able to stack the line to slow down the Cards. I thought the team did a pretty good job and was surprised to see that Louisville rushed for over 300 yards. It certainly didn’t seem that way.

This time, Memphis will spread the field and use its star running back both to carry and catch the football.

“DeAngelo Williams is the best back in our league,” said Pirate Coach John Thompson. “I got a chance to know DeAngelo when we recruited him at Arkansas. He is the real deal and he’ll present a tremendous challenge on Saturday.”

The spread offense continues to cause headaches all over. Thompson says it has changed the game of college football.

“I think the offenses are ahead of the defenses at this point,” said Thompson. “When offenses spread the field, they get an extra man with a guard or a tackle pulling. Defenses are still trying to adjust.”

Robinson settling down under center

Desmond Robinson continues to get more comfortable running the Pirate offense. This same offense that really struggled earlier in the season did some nice things on Saturday.

You can see the improvement, both on the stat sheet and on the field. Robinson just looks like he’s in much better control of things.

“I think we are getting better and better,” said Robinson. “The offense is clicking, but we still can get better. When everything clicks, this will be exciting.”

Robinson realizes that he almost directed the Pirates to a big upset win last week.

“If one pass had just had a little more air under it, or if someone holds a block a little longer, things could have been different,” said Robinson. “We were close, but we have to do better.”

Halloween upset the preferred treat

Odds makers don’t like the Pirates chances this week, as East Carolina is a 17-point underdog for the second straight week.

The Pirates have won four of the last five meetings with the Tigers, including the last meeting, which was a 32-11 win in Greenville.

The last time these two hooked up at the Liberty Bowl, Memphis took a 17-10 win. In that game, the Tigers jumped on the Pirates early, and ECU’s late rally came up short.

East Carolina leads the all-time series 8-3. The Pirates are 4-1 against Memphis in Greenville, and 4-2 against the Tigers in Memphis.

ECU excelling in war of the turnstiles

Despite the 1-7 record, East Carolina ranks third in the league in home attendance.

Pirate fans should take a bow. They have once again shown they will support their program through thick and thin.

Louisville leads the league while Memphis is a surprise at 2nd. The Pirates are third, followed by Texas Christian, South Florida, Army, Southern Miss and Tulane.

Hey Big East…. Cincinnati is 9th in the league, averaging just over 26,000 fans per game. Add 10,000 more and you get to the Pirates' level. Enjoy the Bearcats and those huge crowds for league games in Cincy!

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02/23/2007 01:26:51 AM

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