ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
By Brian Bailey
Two scrimmages down, one
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ON THE STATE OF THE PIRATES:
Coach Skip Holtz's remarks after
Saturday's next-to-last preseason scrimmage. (Recorded by Brian Bailey) ...
Last week I wrote that there
was nothing like a Saturday afternoon scrimmage to get you in the mood for
Evidently, there are plenty of
Pirate fans that agree. A nice crowd watched East Carolina’s second
scrimmage of the preseason.
In fact, it may have been the
biggest crowd to watch an ECU football scrimmage since those Thursday night
games that Art Baker held in the late 80’s.
Coach Skip Holtz told me last
year that he always liked to have his scrimmages open. He says times have
changed, though, because of message boards and the Internet. A player could
have a bad day and the fan base might write him off. Holtz said that same
player might just read the message boards.
In connection with the always
popular “Meet the Pirates” night, Saturday’s scrimmage was open. It was a
sun-drenched, hot and humid afternoon, but many in the crowd watched every
The defense sparked the most
applause from the crowd. Several big hits by the Pirate “D” were rewarded
"I am really pleased with the
hitting," said Coach Holtz. "I think the attitude of this football team is
excellent and we are working real hard. I think our team understands the
challenge we face. It is a double-edged sword in that there is an
unbelievable amount of excitement but at the same time they understand how
far we have to go before we reach the level for which we strive.
"We are playing some great
football teams to begin the season.”
Those great football teams
include a pair of top ten teams in the Associated Press’s first poll of the
season. Opening day opponent Virginia Tech is ranked 9th. West Virginia, the
Pirates' fourth opponent in September, is ranked third in that first poll.
That puts an added emphasis on
this week’s final scrimmage. The Friday scrimmage will be a dress rehearsal
for the opener at Virginia Tech.
“That’s what we’ll work with
in the last scrimmage,” said Holtz. “It will certainly have more of a game
feel to it.”
While scrimmages are a
necessary evil in the preseason, Holtz admits that it’s sometimes hard to
know if things are going well, or not so well.
"I thought there were a lot of
positive things out there," Holtz said. "It's a lot like spring practice in
that it's great but frustrating too. Van (Eskridge) cuts under Davon Drew
and takes it back for a touchdown. That's great but at the same time you
have to realize that your quarterback just threw an interception. We'll take
this film, evaluate it and put the pieces of the puzzle together. We are
still a long way from being ready to play."
If the Pirates are a long way
off, they also have a shot time to get where they need to get to. Classes
start this week, and all of a sudden those double workouts will be trimmed
to just one practice.
While the Pirate defense
appears to be the club’s strength, the ECU offense may be a work in
Sophomore quarterback Rob Kass
makes his first collegiate start in Blacksburg in a couple of weeks. Kass
says he tries to learn everything that he can in each and every practice.
“I feel like I can lead this
team,” said Kass. “But I also realize that I’m just like everyone else. I
have to earn my position every time I go out to play.”
Kass quarterbacked the offense
to the tune of an 11-first down day in the scrimmage. He was 14-22 through
the air for 123 yards. He did throw that one interception late in the
scrimmage to Eskridge.
It’s another key week of work
for Coach Holtz and this ECU squad. We should see continued improvement on
Then it’s on to game week, and
the magical roller coaster ride that is a football season will be on.
I know we all can’t wait to
turn the page on August and head into September.
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04/21/2008 07:01:13 PM