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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
By Brian Bailey

Coach groping for cure for ground game woes


Replay the archive of Monday night's Brian Bailey Show, with guest Phil Petty.

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Replay Skip Holtz's Monday press conference (recorded by Brian Bailey).

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East Carolina's inability to run the football continues to bother Coach Skip Holtz.

It’s a problem without an easy answer. Execution, depth, talent and several other factors all filter into the lack of a Pirate running game.

“It puts a lot of pressure on play calling,” said Holtz. “When you can just call a base run and get four or five yards, it makes things so much easier. I think there are several things we need to do to run the football better, and I think it all starts with our depth.”

“We’re getting into the season where guys get banged up,” Holtz continued. “And we just don’t have the depth where we can play three or four guys back there so we can keep people fresh. There is such a drop off from our first guys to our next line guys. It’s just something that we have to address for the future.”

ECU really looked good running the football against a defense known for stopping the run. That was the Southern Miss game, when it was turnovers, not the lack of a running game, that did the Pirates in.

Don’t think for a minute Holtz and staff haven’t tried different things in order to run the football. Holtz has a laundry list of different ways to skin this cat.

“We have tried gap schemes, zone schemes, we’ve tried to spread defenses out, we’ve tried to bring people in, we’ve tried to play in the ‘I,’ and we have had some success,” Holtz explained. “We just really need to do a better job with consistency.”

Heads you win, tails I lose

If you flip a coin 100 times, odds are that you’ll get 50 coins that land on heads and 50 that land on tails, or something very close.

It should be close to a break-even proposition.

However, the Pirates are 0-7 on the coin flip this season.

How do you explain that?

The visiting captains make the call for Pirate home games, but Pirate captains are 0-4 on the road this season.

I’ve always been a fan of calling heads on a coin flip, but Coach Holtz has a different opinion.

“I always call tails,” said Holtz. “I was 10-1 at one point, but things have been different this year. But I know when I make the decision to change over to heads, then the flips will go the other way. We’re just snake bitten when it comes to coin tosses.”

Pinkney continues solid play

East Carolina has only thrown three interceptions this season. That’s good for fourth in the nation, just behind Alabama, Northwestern and Central Michigan, which have all thrown just two picks this season.

That’s an exceptionally good number when you look at how many times the Pirates have been in situations where they had to throw the football.

Pinkney aired it out 33 times in the second half in Saturday’s 27-24 loss to Memphis.

“We just didn’t get off to a good start,” said Pinkney. “We really cranked it up in the second half. I just hope we can get it going early this week.”

Season full of Homecomings

The Pirates host Central Florida for Homecoming this week. But this is not the Pirates' first homecoming game.

“We’ve been to three or four homecomings,” said Holtz. “We just haven’t been to our own yet. (Wide Receiver) Coach Donnie Kieffer said we ought to build our own float and take it on the road with us.”

Holtz and the Pirates look forward to their own homecoming.

“It’s going to be great,” Holtz said. “It’s a very special week where a lot of the alumni get to come back and see so many of the changes in the university, changes in the athletic department... you put a football game in that deal, it's just a lot of fun; I’m really excited about homecoming.”

I agree. It’s just a special day, where you see so many people that you only see once every year or so.

It should be a pretty even match-up, as East Carolina goes for its fourth win of the season.

Maybe the Pirates will win the coin flip as well!

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02/23/2007 01:32:10 AM

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