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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
By Brian Bailey

Lassoing the 'Big D'


Replay the archive of Monday night's Brian Bailey Show, with guest Rick Smith:

Select audio clip

Replay the archive of Brian Bailey's sideline interview with Terrance Copper during Saturday's ECU-SMU game:

Select audio clip

Replay Skip Holtz's weekly press conference:

Select audio clip

What a Weekend! My trip to Texas was a great one. East Carolina was victorious on Saturday, and then I enjoyed an overtime win for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

I also had a chance to hook up a couple of times with former Pirate star Terrance Copper, who played his high school football at Washington. We visited during the first half of the ECU-Southern Methodist game and then again in the Cowboys' locker room after the game on Sunday. (Replay the audio archive of Brian Bailey's one-on-one interview with Terrance Copper.)

The Pirates played a very solid game in beating SMU 24-17. The running game is still very much a work in progress, but the defense made enough big plays to make it work.

The ECU secondary picked off four more passes against SMU and is sixth nationally in the category.

Pirate coach Skip Holtz has praised his secondary coach, Rick Smith, several times thus far this season. Smith, though, says it is a total team effort.

“It all starts up front,” Smith said Monday night as a guest on my weekly show on Talk 1070 and Cable 7 (Replay the archive of the show.). “Those guys have to give us a push for us to do the things that we can do.”

The secondary is obviously light years better then it was last season. Coach Smith says it all goes back to philosophy.

“It starts with Coach Holtz,” Smith said. “He structures our practices so that our players can get better. We get plenty of individual time to work with our groups, and I think it makes a big difference. I’ve worked places where that wasn’t the case.”

TV markets

I’ve often made the case that the Greenville-Washington-New Bern (East Carolina) television market isn’t as bad as it looks on paper. As I’ve mentioned before, if you add in Raleigh the number really jumps.

It is well documented that South Florida’s jump to the Big East was aided by the Bull’s television market.

SMU is a part of the Dallas television market, which is among the largest in the nation.

Still, only 11,000 (if that many) made it out for the ECU-SMU game on Saturday.
So many people, yet so few care about the game itself. My point is this: You can have 5 million potential viewers, but what does it mean if nobody watches.

SMU got very little mention by the local newspaper in Dallas or the local television stations. In fact, the Mustangs made the 6 p.m. sportscast but weren't even mentioned in the 11 p.m. sportscast on that same station.

Sometimes it is better to be the big fish in the little pond.

Back to Memphis

Every time the Pirates return to Memphis I think back on those back-to-back Liberty Bowl trips from the mid-90’s.

The parade on Beale Street that first year was jam packed with purple and gold Pirate fans. I learned just what a “dry” rib was on that trip. I visited Graceland and I could have sworn that I saw Elvis. I did see a couple of Benjamins leave my wallet at the casinos.

Memphis was a rewarding trip the second time. The Pirates wore shirts claiming “Unfinished Business” all season long. East Carolina did indeed come back and take care of business in that return trip.

Here’s hoping the Pirates again win in Memphis, taking another step in turning this program around. Three wins in two years, compared with three wins in six games — the program's turnaround is certainly underway.

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02/23/2007 01:32:10 AM

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