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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, October 13, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Holtz makes the point about points

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show with guest Brian Meador and Mike Steele. 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
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Bailey: Holtz makes the point about points
BVL Bytes Audio: Skip Holtz Monday Luncheon
O'Brien: Experience not evident for ECU
BVL: This Week's Polls
C-USA Standings, Scores, Schedule, TV
Game Center: East Carolina-SMU
Box Score / Statistics
BVL Bytes Audio: Skip Holtz post-game
O'Brien: Scoring struggles cost ECU
Monroe: Kevin's Keys to the Game
ECU Schedule, Scores, Attendance, Links
Myatt: SMU presents different challenge
Bradsher: Harris embraces strategic makeover
Bailey: Black and blue vs. Barnum & Bailey

East Carolina coach Skip Holtz calls them “point mistakes.”

Mistakes are a part of football. For that matter, mistakes are a part of life.

Saturday night’s mistakes in Dallas cost the Pirates dearly. Good teams can overcome a mistake or two. Even great teams can’t win when they give away gifts like the Pirates did against Southern Methodist.

East Carolina is not a great team. The Pirates are a good team still trying to develop consistency, especially on offense.

Still, this squad certainly performed well enough to win in several areas on Saturday night.

Add in the fact that several players were either out with the flu, or playing with the nasty bug, and the loss to SMU will go down as one of the most frustrating losses in Skip Holtz’s five years at East Carolina.

Holtz was still shaking his head about the plays on Monday.

"The mistakes we're making are point mistakes,” said Holtz. “It's not just a lost yardage play. It wasn't just a blocked field goal, but a block returned for a touchdown. That's seven points. The 96-yard touchdown is another seven points. The interception for a touchdown was another seven points.

"Whether it's losing your opportunity to score, or giving SMU points, it's a 28-point difference in four plays. That's frustrating.”

The Pirates were the much better team between the lines against SMU. The offense controlled the football. The defense was solid.

Holtz agreed. “There were a lot of great individual efforts," he said, "and lots of things we did well offensively with controlling the ball and running so well. Defensively, we were 80 percent on third down as they were only 2-for-10.”

All of that despite the flu outbreak, which affected a number of the Pirate players.

"When we got to Dallas, four more players had developed fevers of over 100 degrees," Holtz said. "We had to isolate them and put them in their own rooms. We didn't want this to become something that impacted the entire team.

"The fever was what indicated the flu problem. They all played, but how but how much it affected them, I'm not sure at this point.”

Several Pirates displayed incredible bravery in the loss.

Dominique Lindsay ran as hard as he ever has, and then would sprint over to the Pirate sideline to puke in a garbage can. Lindsay is as tough of a player as I have seen in my 25 years watching this program.

Much maligned quarterback Patrick Pinkney laid around all day, praying that he would feel well enough to play. Pinkney threw the football well, though the deep passing game is certainly still a work in progress.

Think about how you feel when you have the flu. I’m not talking about a bad cough or a cold. I’m talking about the high fever, the aches and pains, and all of the junk that goes with the illness. Most of us don’t want to get out of bed and don’t want to see anyone. Imagine trying to play football with the flu.

The flu didn’t beat the Pirates on Saturday, but the many illnesses in and around the team didn’t help the ECU cause.

Holtz hopes the bumpiest stretch is in the rear-view mirror as far as the flu goes.

"I'm hoping that the worst of it is behind us now," he said. "With today and tomorrow off of school because of fall break, I gave the team all of Sunday off to get some sleep and rest. That's usually a practice day for us. We're giving them all day off today and they're going to come back tonight for meetings and practice. I'm trying to give them as much time off as we can so they can get their legs back under them.”

Usually it’s orange juice and plenty of rest to combat the flu. This week, it’s a helping of Rice that should make the Pirates feel much better. The Owls come to town at 0-6, and should provide the remedy with a big Homecoming victory.

On the flip side, rarely do teams go an entire season without a victory. Rice has played well at times, and this bunch of Owls is certainly due. With the Pirates struggling on offense, the Rice game plan is probably to keep this week’s game close and pull one out of the fire at the end.

East Carolina needs to come out and dominate play early, leaving no doubt which is the better team. That has been a difficult script for the Pirates to follow.

The Pirates can’t afford to hand out any more gifts. The longer the Owls hang around, the more difficult the game will be.

Happy Homecoming if you’re headed back to town for the festivities and camaraderie. It's a game I look forward to and a week when I always get a chance to catch up with so many who spent time in Greenville.


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Brian Bailey Archives

10/13/2009 03:07 AM


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