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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, September 1, 2004
By Brian Bailey

Thank God, It's September!


Brian Bailey goes 1-on-1 with Marvin Townes:
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Bonesville Magazine

• PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact

• Recruit Profiles
• Rookie Books
• Tracking the Classes
• Florida Pipeline
• NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again


• STEVE BALLARD: New Leader Takes Charge

• SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door

• KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams

• BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate



I don’t know about you, but I always feel especially giddy when the calendar changes to September.

There is just something about this month that I truly love. The temperatures start to fall, the days get shorter, and then there’s that game that takes up so much time on our weekends.

Football is like no other sport. It is a social animal. It brings people together in so many different ways.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a lazy summer afternoon of baseball. I love the excitement of watching my teams fall one by one out of the NCAA basketball tournament.

But football season is my pick of the litter.

It all kicks off for the Pirates on Saturday in Morgantown.

Dog days

Clifford was a big red dog.

The Pirates are big purple dogs against 10th ranked West Virginia. East Carolina is as much as a 28-point underdog against the Mountaineers.

Many of us have studied the numbers all summer long. The early line had West Virginia favored by 27 points. The latest line finds the Pirates as a 28-point dog.

Coach John Thompson said he had no idea.

“Wow,” the coach said Tuesday at the Pirate’s first news conference of the 2004 season. “Wow! Who are the odds makers? I guess if you look at last year and this year and compare them. I didn’t know that. I don’t pay any attention to that. That’s a lot of points. I’ll be sure to tell my team this afternoon. That’s a surprise to me.”

The Pirate players seem to have a chip on their shoulder as we kick off the 2004 season. This team is better with that chip in place.

“People are going to think what they are going to think,” said Marvin Townes. “All of the magazines and all of that stuff don’t mean anything. We don’t care about that. All we care about is focusing. We have to focus and execute and we’ll be fine.”

Backfield in motion

East Carolina is one of only three Division I-A teams that return two 1,000-yard rushers in 2004. Marvin Townes ran for 1,128 yards last season, while Art Brown ran for 1,029 in 2002. Brown sat out last year with a knee injury.

With that much talent in the backfield, one has to wonder if there will be enough footballs to go around.

“We are going to be a force this year,” said Townes. “There are enough balls to go around, because we aren’t selfish people. We understand what it’s about. It’s not about me or Art, it’s about the team and the bottom line is, we have to win.”

The other two schools with thousand yard bookends in the backfield are Minnesota and Auburn.

Marion Barber and Lawrence Maroney lead the Golden Gophers. Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams make up the Tiger’s thousand-yard backfield.

Still No Love for ECU?

Conference USA counted up the votes, and Louisville’s win over then 4th ranked Florida State goes down as the top moment in the history of the league.

The Cardinals win over the ‘Noles was a great moment, but I once again maintain that it pales in comparison to the “Hurricane Game,” when the Pirates rallied from 20 points down in the second half to beat then 9th ranked Miami 27-23. The game was moved from Greenville to Raleigh's Carter-Finley Stadium because of the flooding in Eastern North Carolina.

The emotion of the “Hurricane Game” certainly outweighs the difference in beating a 4th ranked team and beating a 9th ranked team, doesn’t it!

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02/23/2007 01:29:40 AM

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