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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
By Brian Bailey

Two scrimmages down, one to go

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


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Bonesville Bytes

Replay Coach Skip Holtz's remarks after Saturday's next-to-last preseason scrimmage. (Recorded by Brian Bailey) ... Select Clip...


Bailey: Two scrimmages down, one to go
O'Brien: Schedule generates rare opportunity
Bradsher: TE position takes on new meaning
Myatt: Kass approaches season with poise
Bailey: Young backs jockey for travel squad
Myatt: Troth on new mission second time around
Bailey: Kass a natural in high-profile position
O'Brien: Coffman thriving in leadership role
Bradsher: Winning 'em over in back country not easy
O'Brien: Coaches sound off on 'Mid-Major' label
O'Brien: Expansion not on C-USA radar
Cherubini: Ex-Pirate coach applauds state of program
Gold: ECU pays price for Florida's success

Last week I wrote that there was nothing like a Saturday afternoon scrimmage to get you in the mood for football.

Evidently, there are plenty of Pirate fans that agree. A nice crowd watched East Carolina’s second scrimmage of the preseason.

In fact, it may have been the biggest crowd to watch an ECU football scrimmage since those Thursday night games that Art Baker held in the late 80’s.

Coach Skip Holtz told me last year that he always liked to have his scrimmages open. He says times have changed, though, because of message boards and the Internet. A player could have a bad day and the fan base might write him off. Holtz said that same player might just read the message boards.

In connection with the always popular “Meet the Pirates” night, Saturday’s scrimmage was open. It was a sun-drenched, hot and humid afternoon, but many in the crowd watched every play.

The defense sparked the most applause from the crowd. Several big hits by the Pirate “D” were rewarded with cheers.

"I am really pleased with the hitting," said Coach Holtz. "I think the attitude of this football team is excellent and we are working real hard. I think our team understands the challenge we face. It is a double-edged sword in that there is an unbelievable amount of excitement but at the same time they understand how far we have to go before we reach the level for which we strive.

"We are playing some great football teams to begin the season.”

Those great football teams include a pair of top ten teams in the Associated Press’s first poll of the season. Opening day opponent Virginia Tech is ranked 9th. West Virginia, the Pirates' fourth opponent in September, is ranked third in that first poll.

That puts an added emphasis on this week’s final scrimmage. The Friday scrimmage will be a dress rehearsal for the opener at Virginia Tech.

“That’s what we’ll work with in the last scrimmage,” said Holtz. “It will certainly have more of a game feel to it.”

While scrimmages are a necessary evil in the preseason, Holtz admits that it’s sometimes hard to know if things are going well, or not so well.

"I thought there were a lot of positive things out there," Holtz said. "It's a lot like spring practice in that it's great but frustrating too. Van (Eskridge) cuts under Davon Drew and takes it back for a touchdown. That's great but at the same time you have to realize that your quarterback just threw an interception. We'll take this film, evaluate it and put the pieces of the puzzle together. We are still a long way from being ready to play."

If the Pirates are a long way off, they also have a shot time to get where they need to get to. Classes start this week, and all of a sudden those double workouts will be trimmed to just one practice.

While the Pirate defense appears to be the club’s strength, the ECU offense may be a work in progress.

Sophomore quarterback Rob Kass makes his first collegiate start in Blacksburg in a couple of weeks. Kass says he tries to learn everything that he can in each and every practice.

“I feel like I can lead this team,” said Kass. “But I also realize that I’m just like everyone else. I have to earn my position every time I go out to play.”

Kass quarterbacked the offense to the tune of an 11-first down day in the scrimmage. He was 14-22 through the air for 123 yards. He did throw that one interception late in the scrimmage to Eskridge.

It’s another key week of work for Coach Holtz and this ECU squad. We should see continued improvement on Friday.

Then it’s on to game week, and the magical roller coaster ride that is a football season will be on.

I know we all can’t wait to turn the page on August and head into September.


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04/21/2008 07:01:13 PM


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