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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
By Brian Bailey

Holtz has program on right track


Replay Monday night's Prep Football Playoffs Preview Show, with coaches Greg Thomas, Chip Williams and Dewayne Kellum.

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Replay Skip Holtz's meeting with the media after ECU's Saturday victory over UAB (recorded by Denny O'Brien).

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East Carolina football coach Skip Holtz says he purposely set his goals high in year number one.

“It was for the seniors,” Holtz said. “They came in and bought into what we were doing and did a great job in guiding this team. We really wanted to reward them with a bowl game.”

This 2005 team didn’t make it to a bowl, but you get the feeling that this group has helped to lay down a foundation that should lead to plenty of postseason action in the future.

The Pirates probably didn’t have the most talented team on the field on Saturday against UAB. Man for man, the Blazers probably were a little better.

What the Pirates did have, though, was a very organized team that made adjustments and made enough big plays to pull out a win. It was a most solid effort, and it gives Pirates fans all kinds of hope for even better times ahead.

Holtz made it a point to go on both sides of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium to give the fans a thumbs up after the victory. ECU's chancellor, Steve Ballard, and its athletics director, Terry Holland, gave Holtz their own “thumbs up” just after Holtz’s post game news conference, which both of them attended with big smiles on their faces.

The future is bright. Holtz and the staff really liked their first recruiting class, most of which was redshirted.

While not offering specifics, one assistant coach told me that the Pirates were in on several ‘big-time’ recruits for this current class. In fact, Coach Holtz had two home visits on the Sunday after the win over UAB.

James Pinkney returns for his senior season next year. Pinkney really shined against the Blazers and took home Conference USA Player of the Week honors.

Pinkney completed 21-of-33 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s win. He also ran for a career-high 47 yards, including a 24-yard scamper for a late touchdown. In all, Pinkney accounted for 333 yards of total offense and three of the Pirates’ four touchdowns.

Aundrae Allison heads a suddenly deep wide receiving corps for next season. Allison injured his knee in the win over UAB, but hopefully he’ll be back for spring practice. Bobby Good, who has elevated his game of late, caught a pair of touchdown passes against UAB and almost had a couple of others.

The Pirate running backs probably need to add a body or two, but Dominique Lindsay, Brandon Fractious and Chris Johnson all shined down the stretch. Sometimes we forget that both Lindsay and Fractious were brand new to the program this season.

On defense, we got a glimpse of the future with the two interceptions by former West Craven star Pierre Bell on Saturday. Bell looked like he was back in Vanceboro at tailback with his first interception return, almost weaving his way for a score.

East Carolina is the only school in history to have two people on defense named Pierre. Bell is joined by Pierre Parker as two of the stellar defensive players to look for in the future.

Marcus Hands was dominating at times in ’05. He’s another bright spot to look forward to next year.

Sometimes the specialists get overlooked, but kickers can win you a game or two each year. The Pirates have a good one in Robert Lee.

After Holtz's postgame press conference on Saturday, I walked outside to head to the arena for basketball.

Coach Holtz was still talking to fans, thanking them for coming out to the game during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Holtz was smiling and the Pirate faithful was grinning ear to ear.

This town loves the Pirates and swells with pride on the prospects of a winner.

Don’t look now, but the Pirates are getting their swagger back!

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02/23/2007 01:32:16 AM

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