Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather





Put your ad message in front of 1,000's and 1,000's of Pirate fans. Call 252.637.2944 for flexible options & rates.





From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
By Brian Bailey

Adverse outcomes test Pirates' mettle

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


Tune in on the radio or catch the Internet live stream of The Brian Bailey Show with WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director Brian Bailey, each Monday night from 7-8 p.m. ... Select Live Stream...


Catch past Brian Bailey Shows, including Monday night's program featuring guest Vernon Hargreaves. ... Select Clip...


Audio: Skip Holtz Monday press conference
Bailey: Adverse outcomes test Pirates' mettle
Batten: Fleet Gryphon running route to ECU
Harris Interactive College Football Poll
O'Brien: Harris Poll Ballot

Last week I wrote that I was hopeful that the East Carolina loss to Southern Miss didn’t bite the Pirates later on.

I wasn’t the only one with that feeling.

Pirate coach Skip Holtz said as much as his team gets set to travel to defending Conference USA champion Houston this week.

“2-2 would feel a lot better then 1-3,” said Holtz at his weekly news conference on Monday. “There’s really no shame in losing to Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

"Don’t get me wrong, Southern Miss is an excellent football team, but we feel like we let one get away at home in that one.”

Unfortunately, this past week’s assignment wasn't nearly as competitive. West Virginia put on a clinic on offense, executing to near perfection. The game was a blowout, something we have seen rarely during the Skip Holtz era.

West Virginia Coach Rich Rodriguez told Holtz that even he was surprised at how well his team played.

“Rich said it was by far (WVU quarterback) Pat White’s best game ever. I told him I was sure glad I got the chance to see it up close,” Holtz joked.

The Pirates knew September brought with it a laundry list of potential pitfalls. Next up is a Houston Cougar team that, like West Virginia, likes to spread the field.

In coaching lingo, the term “open field” has been replaced by the word “space.” I don’t know how it evolved, but if you listen to coaches they are always talking about creating “space” and tackling in “space.”

Where West Virginia creates space to run the football, Houston has a different philosophy.

“They like to spread you out and then throw the football down the field,” explained Holtz. “We know that they are going to get some yards. This certainly won’t be a “stat” game. We just hope that we’ll execute better.”

Defensive coordinator Greg Hudson says his defense could see dozens of different looks. The Cougars may show well over 100 different formations, with the same basic philosophy. They want to spread the field and throw the ball around.

As for the mood of this Pirate squad, Coach Holtz has always done a good job of keeping his team at an even keel.

This is a team that usually never gets too high after a win, nor too low after a loss.

Obviously, there were very few, if any, positives on Saturday in the 48-7 loss to West Virginia.

There are, though, several things worth noting.

The Pirates have yet to fumble this season, and are ranked No. 1 nationally in that category. Okay, go ahead and pencil one in this week after I just put the jinx on them!

The Pirates also rank fifth in the nation in fewest turnovers lost.

East Carolina also hasn’t been shut out in 117 straight games. That stat was very much in jeopardy on Saturday, until Chris Johnson scored a late Pirate touchdown.

We all knew that September would be very difficult. I’m not sure what everyone thought about October, but that month is looking awfully challenging as well.

The Pirates return from Houston and get set to host George O’Leary’s Golden Knights of Central Florida. UCF may be playing the best football in the conference.

UTEP will be a great challenge after a cross-country road trip. Then it’s essentially a short week to prepare for N.C. State.

Holtz said last week that his team could not and would not throw themselves a “pity-party.”

The old adage is that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

We are about to find out how tough this team is.


Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

04/21/2008 07:04:46 PM


©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.