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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, November 3, 2004
By Brian Bailey

Herrion: Young Bucs not short on athleticism



East Carolina opens the exhibition basketball season on Thursday night, hosting Division II Newberry.

NCAA rules have changed, allowing teams to play other schools in exhibitions. Division I teams can actually play other Division I teams in the preseason, but that would have to be in a closed scrimmage situation.

Most schools would rather play Division II or III schools and play in front of a crowd.

Moussa Badiane has a tendon strain in his thumb. He’ll miss the first two exhibition games and will try to come back for the opener against Pepperdine in Raleigh.

Moussa’s absence may pay dividends down the road.

“You never, ever want to see a player get injured,” Pirate coach Bill Herrion said. “Moussa is just an outstanding kid. He has worked so hard throughout his career and he’s had a great off-season."

"However," Herrion added, "since he is out, some of our other big men are going to get more minutes in the preseason. They’ll have to step up now, and that should help us in the future.”

Coach Herrion enters his 6th season as the Pirate coach. He has never been as positive about his team.

“We are very young,” said Herrion. “That means we have to be careful. Many of our players have yet to put a uniform on.

"However, they are great kids with tremendous enthusiasm. They are working very hard in practice. Collectively, this is the quickest and most athletic team that we have had here, and I like that.”

The Pirates have two exhibitions before the opener in the BCA in Raleigh. Coach Herrion says his team will go into these first two games with a very serious approach.

“It says exhibition on the schedule, but we’ll definitely treat it like the real thing," he said. "We need our fans to come out and be there for this team. I really think they are going to like this team, but they’ll have to be patient because we are so young.”

Football Bucs strive for streak

East Carolina heads to Houston this week after winning two of its last three games.

Nothing does more for a football program, a school, and a community then a win does.

Now the challenge is to go on the road and be competitive.

The Pirates have been outscored on the road 166-40 in the three losses at West Virginia, Louisville and Southern Mississippi.

“Those are bad numbers,” said Coach John Thompson. “But the numbers are going to start at 0-0 on Saturday, so we can’t do anything about those numbers. We’ll just have to work to improve the numbers beginning this week.”

Houston is a 14-point favorite this week. The thing that worries me about the Cougars is that it seems like they audibilize into running plays. Thompson says that could cause problems.

“You see an offense that takes advantage of every little thing,” Thompson says. “Their quarterback, Kevin Kolb, runs the show. He takes advantage of what the defense gives up. If you give them a bubble somewhere in the running game, they’re going to run it right at you.”

That’s been the problem all year, stopping that running game. The Pirates showed improvement against Army, but the Cougars will bring better athletes to the table on Saturday.

The Pirates showed some athleticism of their own in beating the Black Knights this past week. If the Pirates can again limit the turnovers and establish a running game, there’s no reason to write off the prospect that Pirates might nail down the first two-game winning streak in the Thompson era.

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02/23/2007 01:29:51 AM

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