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Insights and Observations

Henry's Highlights
Monday, July 10, 2006

By Henry Hinton

The time to be consumed by football approaches


7:00-9:00 a.m.

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July is like the virtual calm before the storm around Greenville. Coaches and administrators at East Carolina are getting in their summer vacations in order to hit the ground running in August.

There is a murmur already, however, about what is ahead for the Pirates in football. In fact you might say there is more anticipation about the upcoming season than any in the last four years.

After putting up a respectable 5-6 record in their first season, Skip Holtz and company have now created something that has been missing from ECU for a while — expectations.

That’s a good thing. However, expectations for the ’06 season should be tempered with the realization that eight of the opponents are coming off of season-ending bowl games.

The September 2 opener at Navy should offer Pirate fans an exciting new venue. The village of Annapolis on the bay is one of the best college football experiences in the country. It is, however, much different than making the pilgrimage to West Point to play Army.

The West Point experience is about pomp and circumstance, tradition and a beautiful stadium setting. While the Midshipmen also offer a great pre-game show marching into the stadium, it is the off campus setting that makes this road trip so special. Visiting the bars and restaurants on the circle just off the boat docks is one of the most unique venues anywhere.

If you’re traveling to Annapolis for the game, make sure you get there Friday night for the fun and atmosphere of this nautical setting. Then maybe we can have a victory celebration on Saturday after the game.

Welcome Home, Paul

Skip Holtz continues to show what a class act he truly is. His hiring of former Pirate quarterback Paul Troth to the coaching staff proves Holtz is willing to stay in touch with ECU's roots without the fear of association the prior coaching staff exhibited.

Speaking of a class act, put Troth at the top of that list also. After an unfair and sometimes cruel response when he was struggling to help the Pirates win, the young man never gave up on his desire to be a part of the program.

The abuse he endured on the field and off as he worked to try and get better were at times criminal. Those of us who know him personally and watched him suffer through the coaching change understood his need to transfer to Liberty in 2004.

One of the most highly touted recruits in ECU football history, Troth worked diligently to live up to his pre-college hype and never developed into the star most thought he was destined to become.

But it was not because of work ethic or a lack of desire or love for the university. During his playing days Troth suffered through numerous changes in offensive coordinators and philosophies. At times the brilliance showed through, but his departure from ECU was painful to watch.

Paul and his wife Teresa moved back to Greenville last year and continued the support of the program engrained in Paul as a child. Mike Troth, Paul’s father, played at ECU in the 'seventies.

Welcome home, Paul. You deserve another chance to be part of a winner at ECU.

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This page updated 04/21/08 07:05 PM.

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