Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
By Brian Bailey
After long absence, clutch
play is back
the archive of Monday night's Brian Bailey
Show, with guest Junior Smith:
Select audio clip
Several players simply made
plays on Saturday. That’s the biggest difference in this East Carolina team
and those of the past two seasons.
At least in the opener, a
number of Pirates stepped up and made winning plays.
The coaches had preached
simplicity since day one. They wanted to put the players in positions to
make plays without having to stop and think.
Through game one, I’d say,
“I’m just real proud of all of
these players and coaches,” said Skip Holtz shortly after the 24-21 victory.
“They have all worked so hard to get to this point. It was a great effort.”
On offense, Aundrae Allison
had an unbelievable day. He had 10 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown.
Allison was the story of the
spring football game when he flipped into the end zone for a touchdown.
He was the best player on the
field in the win over Duke. His catch to set up the last Pirate touchdown
was as good as I’ve seen at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
Credit James Pinkney for
making plays. His touchdown toss to Allison was a perfect throw, and Pinkney
scored two touchdowns on quarterback sneaks. His last touchdown was a rare
quarterback sneak that “snuck” through the entire Duke defense.
As far as the Pirate defense,
the most obvious big play performer was Zack Baker. Baker picked off one
Duke pass in the end zone, saving a touchdown. His second pick came in the
fourth quarter as the Pirates held on for the victory. He also had a fumble
recovery in the game.
On familiar ground
East Carolina running backs
Coach Junior Smith was my guest on the radio last night.
You could see by the smile on
his face that he is extremely proud to be back on the Pirate sideline.
“I really enjoy working with
the guys,” Smith said. “It’s great being back in the area and coaching.”
Smith is the all-time leading
rusher in East Carolina history. He is also as humble as a former great
player can be.
Skip Holtz was on record as
saying he wanted to add someone to his staff with East Carolina ties back
before he hired Junior. Obviously, Smith is a great fit for the Pirates and
I think Junior is an outstanding young coach.
Junior said the films showed a
couple of times that Chris Johnson could have gotten more yardage with a cut
here or there. He also said Johnson learned from his early fumble, when he
had the football in his right arm, instead of protecting it to the sideline
with his left.
Besides the 24-21 win on
Saturday, I saw several other positives at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium:
1. The crowd was electric, and
I felt the number of fans on hand was at least 3,000-4,000 more than the
35,000 and change that was announced.
2. The opening video was the
best that I have ever seen at East Carolina. The animation absolutely told
the story of a “Pirate” Ship arriving at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The entire
production was very well orchestrated and organized. I still think the
purple smoke could come from a different source, but all in all the open was
a real plus.
3. Morgan Ahlers was great as
the PA announcer. Sure, he’s a friend of mine, but the "ARRRRGH" call on
touchdowns was a thing of brilliance.
4. The students were out in
force, and they stayed until the very end.
5. 24-21, Pirates Win! Enough
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