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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
By Brian Bailey

Resilient J.T. still looking at a glass half full

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



Listen to the replay of John Thompson's Tuesday Press Conference, as digitally recorded by Brian Bailey: Select clip...


Replay last week's Brian Bailey Show: Select clip

Through it all, there has been one constant over the past two years in Pirate football. John Thompson remains positive.

Thompson has hinted at some bitterness, as have some of his staff members. They feel like they didn’t have enough time to have a chance.

Maybe time wasn’t the issue. Perhaps the staff didn’t have a chance out of the gate. Chancellor Steven Ballard didn’t hire John Thompson. Athletic Director Terry Holland wasn’t a part of the process either.

Maybe, with the timing of Thompson’s arrival, this was “Mission Impossible” in purple.

Thompson disagrees.

“No, it wasn’t impossible,” Thompson told me at his final press briefing to preview the North Carolina State game. “We needed more time. Knowing everything that we know now, I would have taken this opportunity anyway.

“Obviously, I would have done some things differently, knowing what I know now," Thompson continued. "There was a reason that this job was open, and I guess, there’s a reason why some feel that it should be open again. This is not an impossible situation. But, this thing didn’t happen overnight and it’s not going to get fixed overnight.

"More than at anytime, it needs everybody to be on the same boat, the same page, the same leadership and all of that.”

Thompson says the distractions of last week hurt his team’s preparations for Memphis. Still, the Pirates came up with one of their best outings of the year. The distractions will continue this week, and it’s something that Thompson and company will have to deal with.

“The worst thing that could possibly happen here is for us to not finish the job,” Thompson said. “We want to close this thing out the right way. This is all about the players. They are the ones that matter.

"Let’s finish out recruiting the right way. Let’s all coach as hard as we can through Saturday afternoon. That’s what it all comes down to now.”

Thompson worries about his staff members and their families. It’s a cold, hard business, in which the head coach is taken care of in a situation like this. The assistants go year to year, and those guys are now looking at moving for the second time in as many years.

“We are all going to be fine,” Thompson explained. “I think we’ve all fed off of each other. These guys trusted me to bring them here and it didn’t work out. But these are quality guys and they’ll all bounce back.”

Stage set for 'fun' finale

I’m certainly not privy to the game plan, but I would expect anything and everything out of the Pirates' bag of tricks against North Carolina State.

Thompson hinted as much in his Tuesday comments.

“We want to make this week fun,” said Thompson. “There are a lot of distractions, just with this being Thanksgiving and such. The travel is different, the families are all involved, playing in an NFL stadium, and playing State, you can’t get sidetracked.”

Thompson continued with the theme.

“I want this to be fun," he said. "I want this to be a memorable thing. Going out with a win would certainly make us feel a whole lot better. I’m not going to say it would heal everything, but it would put a little medicine in there.”

I told Coach Thompson that if he beat State, he could probably run for Mayor.

Ironically, East Carolina’s next coach could have a couple of top-notch assistants already on the payroll. So, perhaps he should use them.

Thompson is still getting paid, so he coaches the defense.

Steve Logan is still getting a year’s salary, so this year he has to work for it as offensive coordinator.

The new coach could certainly do worse then these two as coordinators.

Look for offensive coordinator Noah Brindise to dust off the “gadget” plays against the Wolfpack. If this is going to be fun, the Pirates may have to do anything and everything on offense.

If N.C. State can sack Virginia Tech’s Bryan Randle ten times, how do you think James Pinkney is going to fare? Pinkney has taken a pounding all year. Still, he continues to battle.

Here’s hoping for a strong showing from the Pirates in John Thompson’s finale…

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02/23/2007 01:29:54 AM

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