BAILEY: When the average Pirate
fan sits in the stands and looks at this offense, what will he see?
SHANKWEILER: I think what youíll
see during the course of the season, and Iím not trying to dodge the
question, but youíll see three backs with two tight ends, youíll see three
backs with two split ends, youíll see two backs with one tight end because
we are going to try and create every possible formation. We do that because
it creates certain adjustments that defenses have to make that makes play
calling a whole lot easier.
BAILEY: James Pinkney finally
gets to work with an offense for a second straight year. Might we see things
out of Pinkney that weíve never seen before?
SHANKWEILER: I think you will. Last
year we only threw eight interceptions. When you go back and look, the last
time East Carolina threw that few of a number of interceptions was during
the Pat Dye era when they were running the wishbone. He really had a
remarkable year. Just the other day we had a check/audible period that
truthfully a year ago he would not have been able to handle. He was able to
change some plays at the line for us. It showed me that the consistency in
teaching for a second straight year is going to pay big dividends in his
BAILEY: This team struggled
running the football last year, but for this offense to be successful, you
have to run the ball. Where does this team stand with the running game?
SHANKWEILER: Last year, as the year
went on we got better. We had some games late in the year where we felt like
we ran the ball as well as anybody else in the conference. Weíve got to be
more consistent at tailback. I think Chris Johnson has so much more
confidence with another year in the system. I think the emergence of
Dominique Lindsey is a huge plus for us, especially running between the
tackles. Thatís something that we lacked early on last year and thatís
something that is really his forte. Brandon Fractious is the same kind of
player, between the tackles.
Up front, weíve got two guys that have ever
lettered on the offensive line. Our issue there is going to be experience. I
donít think it is going to be a matter of talent. I think we have as much
talent as we had a year ago. Itís just going to be a matter of getting these
guys up front some experience.
I think it will be a little bit of a feeling
out period to start, as we as coaches try to put the players in situations
that they can excel at, both in the backfield and on the offensive line. By
the end of the season I think weíll be pretty good at running the football.
BAILEY: Talk about you H-Back
spot, where you have your son, Kort, and another former quarterback Pat Dosh
on the depth chart. How important is the H-Back in this offense?
SHANKWEILER: When we get in two
backs it will be important. Last year we had a solid blocker back there, but
we really didnít have a threat in that position to throw to. In order to
keep the running game going, you have to throw to someone out of the
backfield. This year we think weíve got two guys coming out of the
backfield who can make catches. More importantly, we think they can really
help us on the perimeter plays with their blocking. Both of those kids run
well and they can make you miss in open space, so neither is your
traditional fullback. We think we can do more things out of the passing
game, and block better on some running plays, utilizing the H-Back.
BAILEY: Aundrae Allison is the
obvious star of the receiving corps. How much does his play help the rest of
SHANKWEILER: Weíre really excited
about the progress of our receivers. They have all played. Theyíve all been
together for two summers running the same routes and I really think our
receivers will be a big plus this season.
BAILEY: Finally, how good can
this offense be in 2006?
SHANKWEILER: I think we can be
really good. I looked back at last yearís stats, and we were just a couple
of plays away from being among the league leaders. If we can shore up our
inexperience early, I think we can be as good as East Carolina has seen in a