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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
By Brian Bailey

Coaches disappointed with spring outing


If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the expression on Coach Skip Holtz’s face on Saturday spoke volumes. He had that frustrating snarl working overtime after East Carolina's annual spring football game.

Replay the archive of Monday night's Brian Bailey Show, with guest Skip Holtz analyzing last Saturday's Purple- Gold football game.

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“From more or less a fan’s standpoint, from up above, I was disappointed,” Holtz told the media as a steady rain continued. “I’m sure there were a lot of great individual efforts, and I’m sure there are a lot of very positive things that will come out of the film.

"Just looking at the big picture, I was just hoping that we were further along then we are right now.”

Holtz has said all along that the stakes are higher in year two. This team has to be much better in 2006, playing a schedule that includes eight bowl teams, seven of which were bowl champions.

“Maybe I put too many high hopes on guys that haven’t played yet for us, and maybe that’s my fault, but we have a way to,” Holtz continued. “We’re going to have to improve from this if we’re going to compete with the schedule we have this fall.”

Holtz and offensive coordinator Steve Shankweiler knew that the offensive line was a question mark going into the spring. Several bad snaps out of the shotgun added to the staff’s frustrations.

“We’ve got a pair of rookie centers,” said Shankweiler. “This time last year we had a similar problem and we got it fixed. We’ll get this one fixed as well.”

Shank’s offensive line is a work in progress. However, that group paved the way for Dominique Lindsay to rush for 100 yards. Brandon Fractious added 73 yards on the ground.

On the defensive side of the football, cornerback J.J. Millbrook had a huge day. Millbrook had two interceptions and five tackles.

The Pirate defense also captured quarterback James Pinkney in the end zone for a safety.

Much was made this spring about the linebacker position. Durwin Lamb led the way with 11 tackles, while junior college transfer Orlando Farrow recorded nine stops.

A steady rain hampered play at times, but with storms all around, the Pirate staff felt fortunate to get the entire game in. The start time for the game was moved up by 15 minutes to try and beat the bad weather.

Holtz was upset, but that disappointment could pay dividends. Not that anyone would have been satisfied with a stellar spring game, but the fact that things didn’t go all that well magnify the importance of this team improving because the schedule is much more difficult come September.

Pirates recover in Orlando

Credit Billy Godwin for two huge East Carolina wins over Central Florida in Orlando this weekend. After a tough 8-0 loss on Friday, the Diamond Bucs bounced back to take the final two games of the series.

Godwin had his players forget the Friday performance, realizing that wins on Saturday and Sunday would save the weekend.

On Saturday, ECU banged out 14 hits in beating the Golden Knights 6-3. Jamie Ray and Ryan Wood both went 3-5 in the victory.

On Sunday, lefty Brody Taylor was again dominating. Taylor won Conference USA Player of the Week honors last week and he may again be a candidate after giving up just one run on seven hits in eight innings.

Taylor went the distance last Sunday in a win over Houston, but gave way to Kevin Rhodes to pitch the ninth this time out.

The Pirates still have plenty of work to do if they’re going to continue that streak of NCAA tournament appearances. ECU has another key non-conference game this Wednesday at home, hosting North Carolina State.

The Pirates had a chance to take the first game against N.C. State, but the Wolfpack came from behind for the victory.

Wednesday’s game time is 7:00. The jungle should be in rare form. It’s shaping up to be another memorable night at the ballpark at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

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02/23/2007 01:33:39 AM


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