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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
By Brian Bailey

Offense takes some heat for porous defense


Brian Bailey Show

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The East Carolina coaches knew it was coming.

The Pirate players knew it was coming.

For that matter, everyone in purple and gold across the state knew it, too.

Wake Forest was going to run the ball, then run the ball, and then run the ball; and then, just for good measure, the Demon Deacons were going to run it again.

Unfortunately, that’s how the game stacked up. If the Pirates could have even slowed down the Wake rushing game, this one might have had a different outcome.

Deacs exit stage right. Mountaineers enter stage left.

Guess what West Virginia likes to do?

“That’s the challenge we have,” said Pirate Coach Skip Holtz at his weekly luncheon on Monday. “I know we can play better then we did at Wake Forest and still get beat this week. I think West Virginia is a good football team. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I don’t think you can just blame the defense.”

Give Holtz credit for stepping up and defending his defense, which stayed on the field for what seemed like hours on Saturday night.

“I think a good part of our problems on defense centered on the offense,” Holtz said. “We have got to be able to control the ball a little bit more and make some first downs.”

Holtz was especially upset with his team’s performance on third down, and with so many short series in the game.

“With seven 3-and-outs (three downs and a punt), you’re not going to win many games,” Holtz said. “I’m still in awe that we scored 34 points in the game with seven 3-and-outs. I don’t think I’ve ever coached a game where we had seven 3-and-outs.”

“Our offense and defense work in tandem,” Holtz continued. “When we can hold them to a 3-and-out and then control the football on offense, that’s when we’ll find success.”

On the road again

The Pirates hit the road for the second straight week this week.

Groves Stadium is a tea party compared to the atmosphere at Mountaineer Field.
West Virginia fans are known to be as rowdy as any in college football. This is a tough trip, as the scores from the last couple of times East Carolina has traveled to Morgantown indicate.

“We are planning on working on a lot of different things to combat the crowd,” Holtz said. “This will be a culture shock for many of our guys who haven’t been there before. We will work crowd noise this week, silent count, and other ways to communicate with the crowd noise going on. We will have to work in silence, where the quarterbacks and receivers work through signals as you talk through your hands. Otherwise, it will be difficult to communicate in an environment like West Virginia.”

Elite stats for Allison

Aundrae Allison certainly has turned in back-to-back All-American performances. After snaring 10 passes for 164 yards and a score in ECU's season-opening win over Duke, he had 8 catches for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns in Saturday night’s loss at Wake Forest.

Allison is now 3rd in the nation in receptions per game, and 4th in the country in receiving yards per contest.

Allison enjoys the individual stats, but his goals are more team oriented.

“I just try to do what I can to help our team,” Allison said after Saturday night’s loss. “We just didn’t do enough to win this game. We just have to go back and work harder.”

Wide receivers coach Donnie Kirkpatrick was a guest on my radio show last night. He agrees that Allison is something special.

“He’s got a chance to play on Sundays,” Kirkpatrick said. “He really is a special player.”

Kirkpatrick said he hopes to incorporate several other receivers into the game plan over the next couple of weeks. Robert Tillman stepped up in the Wake Forest game.

“I think Tillman will be good,” said Kirkpatrick. “I think he’ll become our second big play guy, and then Bobby Good will fit in there when he gets back from his injury.”

Good tweaked his hamstring injury last week and didn’t make the trip to Winston-Salem.

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02/23/2007 01:32:04 AM

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