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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
By Brian Bailey

Game week opens on sour note

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


Tune in on the radio or catch the Internet live stream of The Brian Bailey Show with WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director Brian Bailey, each Monday night from 7-8 p.m. ... Select Live Stream...


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Bonesville Bytes

Replay Coach Skip Holtz's remarks at Monday's Game Week press conference. (Recorded by Denny O'Brien) ... Select Clip...


Bailey: Game week opens on sour note
O'Brien: Game shouldn't be exploited
Bradsher: High seas spectacle on the way
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

The start of game week at East Carolina is a time I always look forward to — unless an off the field activity dominates the conversation.

East Carolina quarterback Rob Kass’s arrest on a DWI charge from early Saturday morning put a real damper on the excitement surrounding the opener.

Pirate coach Skip Holtz didn’t want to comment publicly on the matter. Holtz will probably announce the punishment for Kass sometime on Tuesday.

It’s hard to believe that any student-athlete would work that hard all spring and summer, and then get into a situation like this one. Kass has always been a standup guy in our conversations, and I expect him to be that way on this deal down the line.

Coach Holtz opened his weekly news conference with a little on the excitement of game week. He then spoke briefly about Kass.

"I know that there has been a lot made about the Rob Kass situation,” Holtz said. "From a public standpoint, it is something of which we have been made aware. It is something that Coach (Terry) Holland and I have talked about, but at this point I am not ready to address it publicly.

"When I am ready to address it openly I will, but now is not the time."

Holtz did add a little later on in our one on one interview.

“It’s frustrating,” Holtz said. “These are 18-22 year old kids that are trying to grow up and be adults. We call them teaching moments all the time. There are some valuable lessons to learn. It is unfortunate, though, that we have to through this as a program.”

Brett Clay is now expected to get the start on Saturday. A mountain that was going to be tough enough to climb just became that much more difficult because of a bad decision.

“Yes, he (Clay) was number two going into this entire thing but we’re going to have to see how all of this plays out. We’ve got Brett Clay and Patrick Pinkney, but whoever starts means that we’ll still have an inexperienced quarterback going to Virginia Tech.”

Any arrest is bad news, but just think about the national spotlight that Kass will have to deal with. The entire nation will be watching as Virginia Tech takes a step toward healing after the tragedy. The pre-game ceremony is expected to be unbelievably emotional. All eyes will be on Blacksburg, and an entire nation will find out that Kass made a huge mistake that cost him a chance to play in the game.

Several Pirate assistant coaches told me on Monday that Virginia Tech may have the best defense that they have ever seen. Period!

One coach said the Hokies' defense is just as good or better than the one featured by LSU in its national championship run a couple of years ago. Another coach told me the only defense he had seen that was better belonged to the Baltimore Ravens during that team’s Super Bowl season.

A great defense should dominate an inexperienced offense. That’s the challenge that faces ECU as the Pirates head to Blacksburg.

"We are not ready to line up and compete offensively. I think we are still too inconsistent because we don't do the little things well enough,” said Holtz. “You go out there and play ten plays and you don't gain a yard on any of them. Your quarterback makes a bad throw, the right guard breaks down on a play, the center has a bad snap and a young receiver drops the ball.

"Each player only may have messed up one play, but as a team we messed up too many plays. We need to play more consistent and play how we know we can.”

Holtz knows that his team will be a part of an atmosphere that we have never seen before. Still, he maintains that his team will go to Blacksburg to try and fight for a win.

“I’m sure the guy that got fed to the lions was excited when he saw the chariots run around beforehand,” Holtz joked. “But when the chariots left, it was him and the lions.”

These lions are Hokies, but this may be just as difficult of an assignment.


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04/21/2008 07:05:50 PM


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