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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
By Brian Bailey

Pirates learning lessons the hard way


Replay Monday night's high school playoffs edition of The Brian Bailey Show, with guests Greg Thomas, Raymond Cobb, Dixon Sauls and Paul Cornwell.

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

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Admittedly, I didn’t read many of the classics going through school. One of those that I did read was Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.”

I agree with East Carolina defensive coordinator Greg Hudson on his assessment from the Tulsa game. It was indeed “the best of times and the worst of times” for ECU against the Golden Hurricane.

A 13-10 first half lead was quickly erased after a key fumble and a roughing the punter penalty. In the end, it turned out to be a 45-13 cakewalk for the Hurricane.

The second half reminded me of too many games from last year in which the Pirates didn’t tackle well and weren’t competitive.

“Going back and watching the film, I don’t think anybody just up and quit,” said Pirate coach Skip Holtz at his weekly news conference on Monday. “I think sometimes momentum starts to go against you, especially on the road; it’s very hard to get that snowball to stop.

"All of a sudden things that worked in the first half didn’t work. You couldn’t complete a pass and you couldn’t pick up a first down. I think a seed of doubt crept in and we couldn’t do anything at all.”

Holtz continues to remind everyone that this is a work in progress. While many might feel the team took a step backwards on Saturday, the Pirate coach says it’s another lesson learned as this program continues to improve.

“I think it was a lesson in the mental toughness department,” Holtz said. “I ask this football team how a fumble and a roughing the kicker penalty could affect the mentality of 100 players on our squad. Again, I think guys got frustrated, maybe left their gaps on defense, maybe tried to do too much. I just don’t think any of them stopped playing.”

ECU vs. Marshall (the last time)

Every time I think of ECU and Marshall, I think back to the GMAC Bowl in 2001.
It was the battle of the future Jacksonville Jaguar quarterbacks, David Garrard for the Pirates and Byron Leftwich for the Thundering Herd.

I can still see that television shot of then-Pirate coach Steve Logan. When Josh Davis caught the pass from Leftwich to win the game 64-61 in double overtime, the camera got a reaction shot from Logan.

Excedrin headache powders couldn’t have found a better advertising medium than that one shot of Logan. His expression said it all. How did that just happen? It would turn out to be a headache that would eventually send him out as the Pirate coach.

Logan and his staff know more football in their pinkies then I’ll ever know. Still, for the life of me, I can’t understand why Leonard Henry didn’t get fifty carries in the second half of that loss to Marshall. The way Leonard was running the football, I don’t think Marshall would have had time to come from 30 points down to win that game.

Hoops takes center stage

Friday night is a huge sports night in our area. Not only is it the second round of the state high school football playoffs, but it is also opening night for Pirate basketball.

Ricky Stokes and company opened on Saturday night with an exhibition win over North Carolina Central.

I think Corey Rouse has a real shot of being named All-Conference USA. Rouse looked good on Saturday night, and he’ll have to carry the load inside for this Pirate team. Rouse had 20 points in the win over the Eagles.

Tommy Hammonds looks like he has bulked up quite a bit and Japhet McNeil ran a nice show on Saturday night, dishing out a dozen assists.

The Pirates open with a three game home stand that includes N.C. A&T, Gardner-Webb and Wofford.

The Wofford game is now a 5 p.m. start so Pirate fans can enjoy a football/basketball doubleheader on campus on November 26th.

Williams Arena provides a tremendous home court advantage when there is a good crowd on hand. Be there for opening night as ECU tips off the Ricky Stokes era.

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02/23/2007 01:32:15 AM

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