ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
By Brian Bailey
Pirates on right track
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For the second straight year,
Greg Hudson’s defense put the clamps down on one of the nation’s top rushing
teams, giving East Carolina a chance at a victory over West Virginia.
Last season, the Pirates held
the Mountaineers to their lowest ground production of the season, a 127-yard
performance in that 20-15 Pirate loss.
This year, West Virginia came
to Greenville as the top ranked rushing team in the nation. The Pirates held
Steve Slaton to just 80 yards on 24 carries. The Mountaineers ran for a
grand total of 153 yards, almost 200 yards off their average.
Hudson coached with enormous
emotion on Saturday night. Early on, he got a couple of player’s attention
with some “tough” love.
But Hudson smiled more then
I’ve seen him smile on the sidelines before. By the end of the game, he had
transformed some of that “tough” love to true appreciation for what his
defense had accomplished.
Part of the success came with
the Pirates' scheme, a base defense that the players really seem comfortable
with. The other part was the team's tackling, which showed vast improvement
against the Mountaineers.
West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez
came away impressed.
“You have to give them
credit,” he said. “They did a tremendous job of tackling. This is probably
the best tackling job a defense has done against (us) so far.”
I’m sure Hudson, though, would
echo the comments from head coach Skip Holtz, who declared after the game
that there are no moral victories.
“It’s frustrating to watch a
team play that hard and improve as much as they have in some areas but
continue to come
up short,” said Holtz. “I love this football team, their attitude, their
work habit, their effort.”
The Pirates are 1-3 on the
season, but if this team can put together that kind of effort in the next
eight games, a winning season is certainly in reach.
Next up, UVa
The Pirates have this week
off, and then host a struggling Virginia team in two weeks.
The Pirates and Cavaliers have
several similarities but are much different at the quarterback position.
East Carolina is enjoying the senior leadership of one of the toughest
quarterbacks in school history in James Pinkney.
The Cavaliers will counter
with redshirt freshman Jameel Sewell, who is the third quarterback the Cavs
have used this season.
Sewell had a late touchdown
pass in Virginia’s Thursday night loss at Georgia Tech. Sewell is probably
lacking in confidence, and he’ll try to find some as UVa travels to Duke
Pirate fans should think about
making a scouting trip to Durham this weekend. East Carolina has an off
week, as do N.C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill. Duke is a great place to watch a
game, and I’m sure the Duke brass would welcome another fan or two —
regardless of their allegiance — to Wallace-Wade Stadium.
Coach Holtz looks forward to
the Pirates' open date.
“I’m glad we have a bye week,”
Holtz said. “We have to go back to the drawing board and improve on some
things, but I’m proud of this team and they’re going to stick together and
there’s no quit in this team.
"The comments in the locker
room were still positive and they want to improve and bounce back.”
The season flies by. One third
of the slate is in the books. I think I’m looking forward to the off week as
well. That unprecedented five-game home stand continues a week from
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