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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
By Brian Bailey

Pirates hope to kill the buzz in Texas


Brian Bailey Show

Replay the archive of Monday night's Brian Bailey Show, with guest Steve Shankweiler:

Select audio clip

Media Luncheon
Replay Skip Holtz's weekly press session (recorded by Brian Bailey):

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It’s a great time if you’re a football fan in the Lone Star State. Can East Carolina spoil the party?

 --- The Texas Longhorns are ranked second in the nation.

 --- The Dallas Cowboys and Bill Parcells just jumped all over NFC favorite Philadelphia and play at home this coming weekend.

 --- Southern Methodist, East Carolina's opponent this week, just shocked one of the favorites in Conference USA on a last second touchdown pass.

Things are looking good in Big D.

Enter the Pirates, and this week’s challenge for Coach Skip Holtz and the staff: to win a game on the road.

SMU has certainly had its ups and downs this year. The Mustangs beat Texas Christian, their DFW Metroplex neighbors from Fort Worth, when the Horned Frogs were coming off of a win over Oklahoma.

SMU has also had some bad losses but does carry the momentum of last week’s last second win over UAB into the matchup with ECU.

“They’ve done a great job of building their program,” Pirate coach Skip Holtz said at his weekly news conference on Monday (Replay audio archive). “They are very similar where we are in trying to build their way out of the bottom. They haven’t had a lot of production over the last couple of years but they’ve been very close, and I really think they are trying to get over the hump.”

Road grind

It seems like each coaching staff over the years sees improvement in stages. Perhaps the next stage for Coach Holtz and company is to win on the road.

“It’s hard,” said Holtz. “Your Friday is a travel day, which takes something out of you. Then you’re in a hotel, you go to an unfamiliar locker room, you play the game, and then you’re traveling again. Sometimes you can find a way to win at home, because you’re in your comfort zone, your family and your friends are around. But winning on the road is hard."

SMU formerly played its home games at Texas Stadium, but now they play in the 35,000 seat Gerald Ford Stadium.

It will be a rare road trip for me. I made plans months ago to cover this game and to stay over to get with Washington, NC, native and former ECU star Terrance Copper and do a story with him at the Cowboys game on Sunday.

It should be a great trip. Maybe if the Pirates win, Coach Holtz will take me on another road venture!

Mirror, mirror on the wall

East Carolina and SMU will look a lot alike on Saturday in Dallas. Both teams are similar on both sides of the football.

The Pirate coaches spent all of last week gearing up for the option attack of Rice. This week, Holtz says, will be much easier as far as schemes are concerned.

“This is a game where nobody is going to be surprised,” Holtz said. “We worked all spring practice on their offense and their defense, because that’s what we do as well. Likewise, they spent all spring against our offense and defense. We run very similar things. There won’t be a lot of surprises in this game. The team that executes the best will be the team that wins.”

The team that wins also stays in the hunt in the C-USA race. Central Florida was picked dead last in the league and now the Knights are the only unbeaten team in C-USA.

It sort of goes back to the old adage, "That’s why they play them on the field.”

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02/23/2007 01:32:09 AM

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