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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
By Brian Bailey

Months of preparation about to be gauged


Replay the archive of Monday night's Brian Bailey Show, with guest Skip Holtz:

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You could almost see the relief in his expression. Coach Skip Holtz came to his weekly news conference with a smile on his face. It is finally that time of year. All of the work now comes down to 11 glorious Saturdays in the fall.

“It’s the season now,” Holtz proclaimed. “We are finally out of camp and into the season. It’s been a long eight months, but I can’t wait to watch this team play on Saturday.”

I can’t wait either. Holtz says he’s been impressed with his defense, but thinks the offense will have to stay simple to be successful.

“The defense really looks good,” Holtz continued. “But then when you get back and sit in your chair you think, could we really just be that bad on offense? You just don’t know where you are because you really haven’t had a measuring stick, except against each other.”

Holtz says he’ll be a little nervous on Saturday. One gets the sense, though, that it's more anticipation than nervousness.

“I’m really excited to get the chance to stand on the sidelines and watch this team play this week,” Holtz said. “They have worked extremely hard.”

East Carolina and Duke combined for just four wins a year ago, and both programs like to think they are now on the way up.

“We have a challenge this week with the Duke program,” Holtz said. “I think Coach (Ted) Roof has done a great job with this program. They are a much improved program when you look back at where they have been. You look at them and you say that they only won two games last year, but they missed by a play or two of winning at least three more.”

Mixed signals, almost

Coach Holtz was my weekly guest on “The Brian Bailey Show” on Talk 1070AM last night.

Getting the head coach to kick off game week was a coup in my mind, but it almost didn’t happen.

Coach Holtz wasn’t aware that my show was Monday night. Holtz already had big plans. It was date night, and he had promised his lovely wife that he would take her to dinner.

I could tell by the look on his face that my request had put him in that awful predicament that only a husband knows. To his credit, though, he asked if we could cut the interview a little short, so he could still make his date.

Coaches have to be brave, but that decision took real guts. I smiled with appreciation, and the interview was set.

Of course, I had to bribe the coach with free baby sitting services the next time the two go out. But, it was worth getting the coach on my show to kick off game week at East Carolina.

Holtz was relaxed, and as always is a great interview. As promised, the coach was on time for his date and all is well in the Holtz family.

Dreary flashbacks

I think I’m still drying out from the last time East Carolina and Duke hooked up. What a mess that was!

It was a sea of purple and “rain coat” yellow in the stands at Wallace Wade Stadium on that August night in 2002.

I don’t think they were calling for monsoons, but that’s about what we faced, especially in the first half.

While the Pirates turned it over three times, I had my own set of mishaps. I somehow misplaced a bag full of tapes and batteries. I had accidentally put the bag in a friend’s car who worked for a television station in Greensboro. The blue bags were identical, but what a blunder! The result was that my season didn’t get off to a good start either. I finally realized where the bag might have been and retrieved it for the second half, avoiding the disaster of not having second half highlights.

The Pirates fumbled on the first play of the season, and before long fell behind 20-0. Duke held off the Pirate comeback and took a soaking 23-16 victory in the ’02 opener.

Over/under on climatology

We are expecting much better weather this time for East Carolina and Duke.

According to WNCT-TV 9 meteorologist Phillip Williams, the high temperature should peak out at about 86 degrees on Saturday.

There should be less humidity with partly sunny skies.

Of course, I’ve never been able to figure out which is better, partly sunny or partly cloudy.

Anyway, it should be a great day for football at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

If you’re thinking about missing the game because of the holiday weekend, think about this: Saturdays are special at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and we only get five of these Saturdays for the 2005 season.

Like Coach Holtz, I can’t wait to see this team play.

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02/23/2007 01:32:01 AM

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