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View from the East
Thursday, April 4, 2002

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Rose: Pirates Shooting for 'Return to Glory'


“Return to Glory” is the phrase East Carolina defensive coordinator Tim Rose used to describe the Pirates’ goals in football for the 2002 season.

“We’re going to put the pride back in the program that East Carolina fans deserve,” Rose told a gathering of the Harnett/Johnston chapter of the Pirates Club on Wednesday night. “You’re not expecting much but we’re going to give you a great return.”

Rose termed reaction to the 6-6 record in 2001 a matter of perception on whether the glass is half empty or half full. He didn’t fault the team’s effort.

“Our players sold out,” he said.

Dennis Young, executive director of the Pirates Club, said that Rose studied tape for 10 days after ECU’s 64-61 overtime loss to Marshall in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, AL. He analyzed the breakdowns that resulted in the completion of every opponent’s pass in 2001.

Improvements in pass defense were emphasized in spring practice as ECU sought to regroup from a three-game losing streak that concluded the preceding season.

“We were 6-3 going into November,” Rose said. “Then we had a game with Louisville in which our offense outplayed their offense and our defense outplayed their defense. We made one mistake in our kicking game and lost that game. Then we played Southern Miss and that was a debacle. We turned the ball over and couldn’t stop them on defense.

“Then we went home and watched Texas Christian beat Louisville, knowing that if we had won our game with Southern Miss, we would have been conference champions.”

Then came the bowl game in which a 30-point halftime lead unbelievably disappeared.

Rose said coaching is based on having a philosophy and tactically implementing that philosophy against particular opponents with considerations for the capabilities of available personnel.

“And I love it,” Rose said.

The Pirates defense has made schematic and personnel changes for the 2002 season. Rose’s unit will be extremely fast. They will also be anxious to alleviate the frustration that resulted because the glass was less than full last season.

Return to glory. It has a nice — and appropriate — ring to it.

Williams rallies rank and file   <<< Top of Page >>>

Assistant coach Richard Morgan subbed at the meeting for men’s basketball coach Bill Herrion, who was involved in recruiting some needed perimeter shooting to complement ECU’s talented returning frontcourt.

Co-chairman of the fund-raising effort for a new baseball stadium, Walter Williams, spoke about the drive that has raised $3.9 million thus far.

Williams said the drive may reach its goal of $6 million without selling the naming rights for the stadium or the field. Price tag on the stadium name is $1.5 million; the field, $1 million.

Williams likes the statement that would be made if a large number of rank and file donors put the drive over the top rather than one or two big contributors.

Griffin may be too slow   <<< Top of Page >>>

The pro scouts who check height, weight, speed and a variety of physical abilities and attributes in the complex formula that tells them whether college players are prospects or not would not be impressed with ECU inside linebacker Pernell Griffin’s 40-yard time in recent workouts in Greenville.

Griffin was Conference USA’s leading career tackler with 460 stops, well ahead of the previous record of 417 set by former Memphis linebacker Kamal Shakir from 1997-2000.

But Griffin’s 40 time was 5.3 seconds despite preparing for his NFL exam with workouts in Florida. That reads as slow and would give the NFL braintrusts big concerns about situations in which Griffin would have to drop into pass coverage. That may make it difficult for him to get a serious look at the next level.

Peculiar. His speed didn’t seem to be a factor when he was going sideline to sideline to bring down opposing ball carriers.

The real deal with Durant   <<< Top of Page >>>

Darian Durant had a change of heart and decided he wanted to remain in the North Carolina football program. That’s apparently the spin the Tar Heels have applied to his aborted transfer.

That may be what ultimately happened — but after the announcement that he was leaving UNC last month, Durant got virtually no response from South Carolina, Georgia or East Carolina — programs he notified of his scholarship release.

Uninterested in the Division I-AA level on which he could have played without sitting out a season, Durant’s decision to leave turned into a busted play.

The realization that he wasn’t wanted elsewhere made the grass look a lot greener in Chapel Hill. Coach John Bunting’s readiness to allow Durant to come back to the team turned a broken power play into a reverse.

Durant, who split time with Ronald Curry at quarterback during UNC’s 8-5 season in 2001, didn’t want to compete with C.J. Stephens, the transfer from Florida, for the starting job. That was the situation that precipitated the whole episode.

In the meantime, Stephens has ascended to the starting spot on the UNC depth chart. The Heels finish spring practice on April 13.

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02/23/2007 12:57:26 AM

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