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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports



From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, October 8, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

We've waited a long time... for this?


I joked about it in Chapel Hill on Saturday. It took state legislation to get the Tar Heels to come to Greenville in the first place. Now, it may take an Act of Congress to get either team a win this season.

It will be 0-5 East Carolina hosting 0-5 North Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It will be a packed house, perhaps the biggest crowd in college football history to see a game between two winless teams halfway through the football season.

The Tar Heels have had some success on offense, but they boast the nation’s worst defense.

The Pirates have had little success on either side of the football. In fact, whenever the Pirates take one step forward, they tend to turn around and take at least two or three steps backward.

“Every time that we do something good, we seem to give up a big play,” said Pirate Coach John Thompson. “We have to become a team that gets some momentum, and then seizes the opportunity. We are going to get this thing rolling at some point, we just need some confidence.”

Confidence is the key ingredient that seems to be missing from both teams.

I was in Chapel Hill for North Carolina’s loss to Virginia on Saturday. To a man, the Tar Heel players sounded just like the Pirates during the post game interviews. The same type of frustration that I had seen at ECU through five games was spilling out of the Tar Heels this past weekend.

I say that the team that finds early success on Saturday will win. Both of these teams have had so much go wrong this year that any repeat will most likely result in even more frustrations.

The ‘wild card’ between these two teams is Tar Heels' quarterback Darian Durant. Durant gives the Heels a chance to have success on offense.

Look for the Pirates to run several different, controlled blitzes against Durant, to try and keep him off balance. Durant is dangerous both as a passer and a runner. If you give him all day, then he’ll pick you apart.

You had better believe that the Heels think they can throw down the field against East Carolina. But the Pirate players need to put some bad thoughts into the Tar Heel quarterback’s head.

Durant isn’t all that impressed with the importance of the game.

“I guess it is some sort of rivalry, at least for them,” said Durant after the loss to Virginia. “I do think that they don’t like us, because they (Pirates) think that we are uppity, or something.”

The Tar Heels can score. So far this season, the Pirates haven’t shown that they can execute and score in the red zone.

I’m convinced that Desmond Robinson will start the game, and that perhaps James Pinkney may be the first guy off the bench. Look for Desmond to get the nod, and don’t be surprised if you see a little, old-time Pirate option football against the Heels.

That may be the Pirates' best hope. To run the football, to eat up the clock and to keep the game away from Durant.

I thought Coach John Thompson’s line best described the game.

“They say you can throw out the records when these two play. I hope that they throw our record a long way away,” he said.

Many have tried to put a positive light on the fact that both squads are 0-5.

I’ve heard fans calling it the “O-fer Bowl,” the “Toilet Bowl,” the “Vacuum Cleaner Bowl” (you figure out why), and the “You Can’t Lose Them All Bowl.”

But if you dig a little deeper, this is exactly why this game and games like it should be played at the very least every other year.

If the Pirates were playing any other 0-5 team in the nation, besides Carolina or N.C. State, what kind of crowd could you expect?

The same thing holds true in Chapel Hill. These types of games are great for both schools, and the entire state of North Carolina.

I am proud of where I work. I’m proud of where I live. And I’m proud to be an Eastern Carolinian that covers the East Carolina Pirates for a living.

I can’t wait to welcome the likes of Woody Durham, the legendary “Voice of the Tar Heels,” and others from UNC to my home.

In fact, most of the Carolina coaching staff already knows what I’m talking about. Coaches Connors, Huxtable, Webster, and Fleming know the ins and outs of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium better then John Thompson’s staff does.

As JT says, throw the records way out of the window.

Saturday should be a day to remember at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

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02/23/2007 01:26:49 AM

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