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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
By Brian Bailey

Pirates still wrestling with road demons

Bonesville Magazine

• PAT DYE: Short on Tenure, Long on Impact

• Recruit Profiles
• Rookie Books
• Tracking the Classes
• Florida Pipeline
• NCHSAA & ECU: Smooth Sailing Again


• STEVE BALLARD: New Leader Takes Charge

• SCOTT COWEN: Busting Down the Door

• KEITH LECLAIR on ECU's Field of Dreams

• BETH GRANT: Actress Still a Pirate


Mature teams find a way to have success on the road in college football. It's one of the marks that separates the good teams from those that are still finding their way.

The maturation of this ECU football team continues to be a work in progress. The Pirates have just one win in almost two seasons on the road under John Thompson, and you can hear the frustration in the coach’s voice.

J.T. Audio

Replay Tuesday's John Thompson press conference (recorded by Brian Bailey): Select clip

“I really see this team maturing,” said Thompson at his weekly news conference at the Murphy Center on Tuesday. “I saw signs of it last week. We have not put it all together on the road. We have to find a way to do that.”

Thompson sees it as a true issue of growing up as a team. It’s as if this squad can’t handle anything that might go wrong.

“We have to do better when things go against us,” explained Thompson. “If we get a bad break, if we give up a big play, if we turn the football over, we have to come back and respond. We have to find a way to put the fire out.

"We have to shut a team down on defense, or go out there and sustain a drive on offense. This is the next step in dealing with this team.”

The Pirates face a South Florida team this week that really did a number on UAB on national television last week. In one of those mid-week “exposure” games, USF exploded in the second half and blew out the Blazers.

“They still like to spread you out,” Thompson said of the Bulls. “But they like to run the football. We will see a big dose of Andre Hall. Again, we’ll have to stop the run in order to have a chance this week.

"They are a lot like us in some ways. They still see that they have a chance to win some games, and they want to make the most of it.”

Moussa on the mend for BCA?

Replay Tuesday's Brian Bailey Show, featuring special guest Bill Herrion: Select clip

Pirate basketball coach Bill Herrion promised to treat these exhibition games like the real thing. Don’t expect that thinking to change with Thursday night’s finale against Barton.

In fact, the Bulldogs may come to town loaded for bear.

“I talked to their coach today,” Herrion told me during my weekly call-in show on Tuesday night on Talk 1070 and Cable 7 TV. “They are really excited about coming over from Wilson and I think they’ll bring some fans with them. They’re looking forward to it, and we are too.”

Moussa Badiane will once again sit this one out as his injured thumb heals. Badiane will get the stitches out on Thursday and then be fitted for a cast. He could play next Wednesday in the BCA Invitational in Raleigh, but Herrion says he intends to avoid pushing his star big man back into the lineup before he's ready.

"We won’t rush Moussa, that’s for sure,” said Herrion. “I think at some point, though, it will come down to his threshold for pain. If he can stand it, then he’ll go for sure.”

Herrion has high praise for Badiane, the lone senior on this year’s team.

“When your best player is also your hardest worker, you know it’s an great situation,” Herrion said. “Moussa is such a hard worker and I know that he can’t wait to get back. But we just can’t afford to rush it, because we’ll need him later on in January in league play in Conference USA.”

Next Wednesday, the Pirates open the BCA Invitational at the RBC Center in Raleigh in a noon matchup against Pepperdine. Herrion has seen tape, and knows that this will be a difficult opener.

“Paul Westphal is their coach,” Herrion said. “He’s got four or five starters returning and they play in the same league with Gonzaga, which means it’s good basketball. We’ll have to play well to have a chance to win.”

That noon tip-off will give the game an “NCAA early round tournament” feel. There probably won’t be a big crowd to start the day, but I expect the Pirate faithful will make their presence known.
It should be a great way to start the basketball season. Three years ago, the Pirates opened in the BCA, and won their first two games before falling to N.C. State in the finals.

Here’s hoping history repeats or betters itself, and the Pirates have another good run in Raleigh.

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02/23/2007 01:29:52 AM

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