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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 15, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Second half blues beating Pirates

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show with guest Todd Fitch. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250-AM and 930-AM.
Replay Show
Pirate Radio Home Page


Bailey: Second half blues beating Pirates
BVL Audio: Skip Holtz weekly press luncheon
O'Brien: Pinkney, offense need work
BVL: AP & Coaches Polls
Game Center: ECU-West Virginia
O'Brien: Defenseless in Morgantown
Box Score / Statistics
BVL Audio: Replay Skip Holtz post-game
Talk FM: Replay Game Day Countdown
Monroe: Kevin's Keys to the Game
C-USA Standings, Scores, Schedule, TV
ECU Schedule, Scores, Attendance, Links

Myatt: App State series now has a future

Bradsher: Offense determined to deliver

East Carolina hasn't experienced this kind of blues since its Liberty Bowl outing in Memphis, the home of the blues.

There were second half blues in that game and that doesn’t include the great blues on Beale Street. In the matchup with Kentucky, the Pirates were outscored 22-3 in the second half of that 25-19 loss.

In game one this year, the Pirates were outscored 17-2 in the second half of their 29-24 win over FCS opponent Appalachian State. The two points were courtesy of a botched punt attempt by the Mountaineers.

Last Saturday, ECU trailed West Virginia 21-20 at the half, then was outscored 14-0 in the second half and lost 35-20.

The Pirates are suffering from the “second half blues.”
Maybe they should get B.B. King on the line. He knows a little about Blues.

Or we could call our buddy Silky Sullivan at Silky O'Sullivan’s Pub. Maybe he could get one of his Beale Street neighbors to put out a spell to rid the Pirates of those second half blues!

Two outings, two lackluster finishes

Many are putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of Patrick Pinkney. Pinkney isn’t playing his best football, for sure. This is a team game, though, and Pinkney isn’t getting great help either.

Still, some are calling for a change at the quarterback position. The Pirates could move Rob Kass back in as a backup. Kass has had success before coming out of the bullpen to aid Pinkney.

"We talked about our other options,” said East Carolina coach Skip Holtz at his weekly news conference on Monday. “At this point, I don't think this is all Patrick. If the four drops are caught, he's 20-for-40 . If the defensive tackles don't get to run free, Patrick completes five more passes to go 25-for-40 and we're talking about how he had a heck of a day and we're not having this discussion.

"Patrick is going to take the brunt of it when the offense is not going well and a lot of the credit when the offense is doing well. I don't think this is all Patrick. But it's something we've considered and talked about.”

Pinkney is completing over 60 percent of his first half passes. The second half has been a much different story.

The coaches say it’s not just Patrick who has struggled in the second half. But the staff also may change some halftime philosophies to try and correct the second half issues.

“We’ve talked about it as a staff,” ECU co-offensive coordinator Todd Fitch told me on my weekly radio show last night. “We are planning to spend more time with our players at halftime, to try and give them a better feel for our second half game plan.”

Fitch says there isn’t much time during the intermission.

“It’s a small window,” Fitch noted. “It’s very hectic. When it comes down to it we really only get two or three minutes to go over things.”

The Pirates need to find an answer for those second half problems this week. North Carolina is ranked nationally and has a defense that may be as good as ECU faces all season long.

"Defense is the strength of this football team,” said Holtz. “They have nine returning starters from last year; five of them we played against here two years ago. It's not that their only year starting is last year — they've been starting for two years. There are some really good players in the bunch.”

It’s a great instate rivalry. Many of these players were recruited by both schools.
Some, though, were not.

Coach Fitch said one of the Pirate coaches asked Conference USA preseason defensive player of the year C.J. Wilson how his visit to North Carolina went when he was recruited. Wilson said he wasn’t recruited by the Tar Heels. The seed was planted.

The Tar Heels are favored by a touchdown, mainly because of their defense.

East Carolina has to get something done on first down and has to figure out a way to put a complete game together. It’s a tall order, and there’s little time.

The Pirates hope this week’s halftime blues don’t turn out to be a “Carolina” shade of blue.


E-mail Brian Bailey.

Brian Bailey Archives

09/15/2009 01:28 AM


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