Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
By Brian Bailey
Pirates sailing into unknown
waters at Wake
the archive of Monday night's Brian Bailey
Show, with guest Greg McMahon:
Select audio clip
East Carolina gets set to hit
the road for the first time on Saturday.
The Pirates travel to Wake
Forest to take on a Deacons team desperate to put one in the win column.
Wake is 0-2 after losing at Nebraska Saturday night.
I think Jim Grobe is one of
the top coaches in the ACC. He’s 4-0 against East Carolina as the head coach
at Wake Forest. So far in ’05, though, his Deacons have been a
Vanderbilt upset Wake Forest
24-20 on that first Thursday night of the college football season. Vandy
then beat Arkansas, so the Commodores are certainly one of the early season
surprises in college football.
Oddsmakers really liked Wake
Forest’s chances to beat Nebraska. The Cornhuskers were just a 6 ½ point
favorite in the game. The final score was 31-3, but Nebraska’s defense did
most of that damage with three returns for touchdowns.
Wake Forest actually out
gained Nebraska 247-234, but four turnovers doomed the Deacons' cause. On
one play, the Nebraska linebacker simply swiped the pigskin away from the
Wake running back and raced for a ‘Husker touchdown.
Give credit to those
oddsmakers. Without the three defensive scores, you’re looking at a 10-3
ballgame. That’s pretty close to a 6 ½ point spread.
'Road Game' motivator
This first road game of the
Skip Holtz era reminds me of a commercial that Holtz’s Dad, Lou, did for
The legendary coach talked
about “road games” in the spot for Marriott. Among those hired to help
promote the properties in the same line of commercials for Courtyard by
Marriott, Marriott Hotels and Resorts and Residence Inn were former 49ers
quarterback Steve Young, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Jerry Rice, Tampa Bay
coach Jon Gruden and former Bears' coach Mike Ditka.
“He brought a little bit on
intensity to the spots,” said the younger Holtz. “He brought a little bit of
intensity about a road game and how important it is. He had fun with it.”
I loved the spot, especially
when Coach would say, “It’s us against the world.”
They were great commercials.
McMahon a “special” coach
Special teams coach Greg
McMahon was my guest on Talk 1070 and Cable 7 on Monday night.
I always enjoy my hour with
the assistant coaches. McMahon was a natural and gave us a great insight as
to what goes on with the special teams.
We joked that there was that
one little hiccup in the win over Duke, as the Pirates did give up a
100-yard kick-off return. But as I said before, overall the special teams
were really good against the Devils. If they continue to play like that, I
believe the Pirates will win their share of games this season. Special teams
are most certainly that important.
Coach McMahon spent 13 years
on the staff at Illinois before coming to East Carolina. He did an
outstanding job in our on-air interview, answering some great questions from
In particular, Coach McMahon
explained the thinking behind receiving the “sky” kicks, also called
“We want the football at the
35-yard line,” McMahon explained. “If they are going to kick it up there,
then we’ll simply call a fair-catch and take it right there.”
McMahon also said
consideration would be given to moving Chris Johnson or Travis Williams up a
few yards if the “sky” kicks continue. The bottom line is that the Pirates
want to start at the 35-yard line if they get the chance.
It should be a good game on
Saturday in Winston-Salem. It’s a good in-state game for East Carolina.
Coach Holtz gave his team a goal of being state champion. The Pirates can
finish 2-0 in-state with a victory.
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