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.





The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, November 4, 2009

By Bethany Bradsher

Pirate Nation primed for primetime

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

Bethany Bradsher
writes that this week's
ESPN telecast of the
East Carolina-Virginia
Tech game will mark
the network's seventh
Thursday night
broadcast of a game
from Dowdy-Ficklen


Bradsher: Pirate Nation primed for primetime
Batten: Ga. recruit brings talent & intangibles
Bailey: Team, town primed for the big stage
BVL Audio: Skip Holtz weekly press luncheon
O'Brien: Pinkney key against Hokies
BVL: BCS Standings
BVL: This Week's Polls
C-USA Standings, Scores, Schedule, TV
Myatt: Opportune Bucs feast on miscues
Batten: Pirates find the mark on 'big target'
Game Center: ECU 38, Memphis 19
O'Brien: Offense ignites under pressure
Box Score / Statistics
BVL Audio: Replay Skip Holtz post-game
Talk FM: Replay Game Day Countdown
Monroe: Kevin's Keys to the Game

It would probably be a whole lot easier for J.J. McLamb if all of Greenville could just take the day off on Thursday.

But since no official holiday was declared for the day of the East Carolina-Virginia Tech game and business and schools will go on as usual, McLamb’s job has been exponentially more complicated in the past few weeks.

As ECU’s assistant athletic director for administrative affairs, McLamb is the one who has to make sure game traffic doesn’t wage a furious battle with rush hour on Thursday afternoon.

That’s only part of the challenge for McLamb, who greeted the ESPN production crews when they arrived on Sunday and has since been making sure they have everything they need to broadcast the game.

McLamb has also been scheduling the hundreds of people who will work as ushers, ticket takers, security guards and concession workers on Thursday night. Even a regular Saturday game requires a massive workforce, but for the Hokies’ visit McLamb hired extra security.

“We started meeting to talk about all of this six months ago,” said McLamb, who communicates regularly with police and city officials to make sure no stone goes unturned.

Coach Skip Holtz recently told McLamb that if Holtz is doing his job coaching the team, then he will regularly give McLamb new and greater challenges as well. With football success comes the opportunity to host larger opponents on a larger national stage, and McLamb embraces the opportunity to prove that Greenville can be just as hospitable as any BCS school.

Thursday’s game will be the seventh Thursday night ESPN broadcast from Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, but one aspect of the coverage will be new to the Pirate Nation — the ESPN SkyCam. The computer-controlled, cable-suspended camera system was introduced for college games last year, McLamb said, but it will make its first appearance at East Carolina on Thursday.

When all of the cables, booms and parking attendants are in place and thousands start to stream through the turnstiles, the burden will shift from operations staff to the players.

McLamb sets the table, in a sense, but no one ever remembers a game for the efficiency of its traffic flow. So Holtz and his staff are doing their part to prepare for a Hokies squad known for its explosion plays on offense and its tenacity on defense.

Even though Virginia Tech is coming off of two losses, the defending Atlantic Coast Conference champions have an abundance of weapons and a coach with 23 years of experience in motivating teams in every situation.

Statistics like these illustrate the Hokies’ strengths: Three different receivers have caught passes of 60 yards or more this season on offense, and the VT defense has forced opposing teams to go three-and-out on 40 percent of their possessions.

“The key in this game is, we can’t give up the home run ball,” Holtz said. “Offensively, we can’t win a track meet. We need a baseball score.”

Holtz has always looked at Virginia Tech as a blueprint of what East Carolina can become, and the series between the two gets more competitive every year. Virginia Tech has a 9-5 edge, but ECU pulled out a victory last year, and the Hokies’ consistent excellence makes the faceoff an important annual gauge of the Pirates’ progress.

ECU is hobbled by injuries to offensive contributors like Jamar Bryant and Rob Kass, and the defense will have to bring all of its strengths to bear against top Hokies like quarterback Tyrod Taylor and running back Ryan Williams.

But the Pirates have confidence after a solid Conference USA win over Memphis, putting them atop the East Division for this midseason non-conference break. Add to that momentum the bedlam that will surely overtake Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium by kickoff, and the product is an ECU program — team and fans combined — that is poised for a true battle.

“There’s an awful lot of buildup to this game and an awful lot of excitement,” Holtz said. “I think Greenville will come to life a little bit Thursday.”

E-mail Bethany Bradsher

Bethany Bradsher Archives

11/04/2009 03:46 AM

©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.