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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, September 3, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

That's why they play the games


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Gino Guidugli throws for 121 yards and one touchdown. The Pirates win the turnover battle. East Carolina loses by 37 points? It just doesn’t add up. Or does it?

ECU coach John Thompson had two keys to victory. He said his team had to run the football, and he said that his defense would have to stop the run.

Nothing worked on opening day.

“Neither one of them happened,” said Thompson. “We thought that we would be much better on both sides of the line of scrimmage. That certainly affected the outcome of the game. It affected how we called plays on both sides of the football. They had us totally out of rhythm and that’s something that we have to go out and address right away.”

Most coaches feel like their team improves the most from week one to week two. But with only four days to get ready for game two, I don’t know how much better this team can get before Saturday.

West Virginia is a nine-point favorite. The game won’t be that close if the Pirates don’t figure out a way to stop the run. The Bearcats ran for 361 yards on Monday afternoon.

If that sounds bad, it pales in comparison to last year’s game between East Carolina and West Virginia. Last year, the Mountaineers ran for 536 yards against the Pirates in a 37-17 win in Morgantown.

Avon Cobourne is gone, but West Virginia has a stable full of replacements led by Quincy Wilson, who rushed for 99 yards in West Virginia’s 24-17 loss to 20th ranked Wisconsin.

In that close loss to the Badgers, West Virginia built a 17-7 third quarter lead. The Mountaineers then gave up 17 unanswered points in losing by a touchdown.

Now, back to the main topic: Nothing went the way it was supposed to for ECU on Monday.

The offensive line was supposed to be the Pirates' strength, but the team ran for only 57 yards. The big guys on the line were beaten badly on this afternoon.

“As a unit we certainly didn’t play well,” said Brian Rimpf, arguably one of the top players at his position in the nation. “We have to establish the running game. We’ll just have to try and look at the films and see what happened. They were very talented, but we didn’t play well in the game.”

Rimpf will start his 27th straight game on Saturday.

The two stars of the game for East Carolina was Terrance Copper at the receiver position, and punter Ryan Dougherty.

Copper caught eleven passes for 106 yards. But sometimes, it seemed like Copper was the only receiver in the play — that Desmond Robinson had just one option.

You’d better believe the Mountaineers will have a couple of defenders on Copper this week.

Ryan Dougherty had 8 punts for a total of 362 yards. That’s an average of 45.2 yards per kick. More importantly, three of the kicks were boomed inside the Cincinnati 20-yard line.

As for positives, that was pretty much the picture.

Robinson will start again at quarterback this week. I’m not sure what to think about that position, because I would have given Paul Troth a shot to start the second half at Cincinnati, just to see if he could spark the team.

Not that I’m all that confident that such a move would have changed the outcome, because the Bearcats totally outplayed the Pirates in every aspect.

Now the problem is to get ready with just four days to prepare for West Virginia.

Rimpf says the short week may benefit the Pirates.

“We’re pretty familiar with West Virginia,” Rimpf stated. “We played them last year and they are pretty much the same team. I think it’s good that we have a short week, so we can put the loss behind us. I think we grew as a team and we’ll be better.”

Most of the times teams are not nearly as bad as they sometimes look. Likewise, teams are nearly as good as they look sometimes.

Here’s hoping we see the other end of that logic on Saturday night against West Virginia.

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02/23/2007 01:26:54 AM

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