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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
By Brian Bailey

Different feelings for different results

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East Carolina won its opening game of the season last year, beating Duke.

That game film had Pirate Coach Skip Holtz worrying about personnel. Immediate changes were made. Even after a win, the Pirate coach didn’t like what he saw.

Fast forward 365 days. This time, even after a loss, the film was much easier for the coach to take.

“We found a way to win that first game last year with our skill players,” said Holtz at his weekly news conference on campus on Monday.

“I remember watching that film, watching our offensive line, and realizing that we just weren’t a very good football team. We were 1-0, but again, we weren’t a very good football team.”

Holtz liked this year’s film much more. He said he saw talented players really playing hard.

“Most of the mistakes that we saw from the Navy game are fixable,” said Holtz. “Last year we made a bunch of personnel moves out of the gate, but we won’t do that this year. It’s just a case that freshman are going to have to play like juniors. There’s not a pill for that. It’s just going to take more hard work and some time to solve some of those problems.”

The Pirates hung tough and things could have been much worse. Navy missed a couple of easy, play action passes that would have opened the game up.

This week, it’s almost like an exact opposite for East Carolina.

“UAB is like the heavyweight fighter. They are big and strong and they will stand toe to toe in the middle of the ring and duke it out with you,” Holtz said in describing the difference between Navy and UAB.

“Navy was more like the featherweight guy," Holtz said. "They are going to dance all over the place. They are almost exact opposites on both offense and defense, even though they both run a bunch of option.”

Last year, UAB came to Greenville in need of a win to become bowl eligible. You’ll remember that Skip Holtz and company slammed the bowl hopes door on both Marshall and the Blazers to close out the season.

UAB lost a close one to a powerhouse Oklahoma team this past weekend. For the second straight year the Blazers battled a top 10 team on the road, losing by a touchdown. Last year it was 5th-ranked Tennessee; this time out, it was the 10th-ranked Sooners.

Holtz was impressed with UAB’s opening game effort.

“They played Oklahoma toe to toe, so we’ll certainly have our work cut out for us," he said.

The Pirates are an early touchdown underdog to UAB. East Carolina then comes home for what’s being referred to as the “home stand,” the five straight home games over six weekends that bring Memphis, West Virginia, Virginia, Tulsa and Southern Methodist into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

That home stand is unprecedented at East Carolina, and the Pirates would dearly love to roll out the welcome mat after a win over UAB!

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04/21/2008 07:02:10 PM


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