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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 8, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Holtz looking for a few good leaders

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


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Bailey: Holtz looking for a few good leaders
BVL Box Score: East Carolina 11, USM 3
BVL Box Score: East Carolina 4, USM 2
BVL Box Score: USM 6, East Carolina 5 (13)
Myatt: Part Two: Spring football tourl
BVL Box Score: East Carolina 11, Campbell 2
BVL Box Score: N.C. State 4, East Carolina 3
Bailey: Important time for spring football
O'Brien: Football can't replicate hoops frenzy
BVL Box Score: ECU 10, Central Florida 1
BVL Box Score: ECU 10, Central Florida 2
BVL Box Score: Central Florida 3, ECU 2
Bradsher: Epiphany: It's more than a game
Myatt: Foes gearing up for football season

It’s our first real taste of football since that glorious week in Hawaii. It’s also our last morsel of the pigskin until we make that trip to Charlotte at the end of August.

It’s the spring football game at East Carolina, as always the feature attraction for the Pirate Pigskin Pig-out Party.

As it should be, football is a celebration at East Carolina. I always look forward to the spring game, and this year is certainly no exception!

The Pirates conducted their second scrimmage of the preseason this past Friday. Coach Skip Holtz was pleased with many aspects of his team’s play, but he does have a concern with his seniors.

“We need our young players to fill holes,” said Holtz. “That’s happening. But we need our seniors to assume leadership roles. We aren’t as far along on that.”

Holtz says he’s seen it before. A team returns a bunch of starters, but doesn’t come close to the expectations that were laid out.

“That’s the evolvement that it takes,” Holtz said. “I’ve seen teams before that returned 18 starters and went from winning the conference to winning 3 or 4 games. There’s nothing written in stone that says we’re going to a bowl game, or that we’re going to win eight (games)."

Spring football games usually aren’t a thing of beauty. Under Holtz, we have seen some great highlights that stand out. Remember the Aundrae Allison flip a couple of years ago.

If there is a highlight this time, keep an eye on number 17. Dwayne Harris continues to put on a show each and every day at practice.

Holtz won’t look for a lot of flash on Saturday.

“I just want to see them go out and complete,” Holtz explained. “We’ll put them on two separate teams. I just want to see what they do in a game like situation. That will be the main thing."

One year the teams played for a car wash. The losers washed cars for charity, while the winners sat around and watched.

Another year the winners were treated to lobster and steak, while the losers dined on beanie weenies. Now that’s motivation!

Holtz realizes he has some youngsters who have talent, but who have never played in front of a crowd. There won’t be 40,000 on Saturday, but any crowd will make a difference.

“It’s funny. Some of the young guys are pretty focused until you get a crowd in there. Then they start looking around," observed Holtz.

"I’m anxious to see how they react.”

Kemp in the zone

East Carolina’s baseball team is back in action tonight, hosting Old Dominion.

The Pirates beat the Monarchs back on March 4th, 20-13, in 10 innings. In that game, ECU rallied to tie the game in the ninth, and then exploded for seven runs in the 10th to win the game.

ECU went 3-2 last week and fell to 28th in the Collegiate Baseball poll. ECU is one of four Conference USA schools represented in those rankings, behind Rice (No. 13), Houston (No. 19) and just ahead of Southern Miss (No. 29).

Pirate catcher Corey Kemp was honored by Conference USA as the league’s hitter of the week. Kemp has provided great leadership at the catcher position, and his bat has been solid all year.

Last year, Kemp seemed to take too many pitches. I believe it took time for Kemp to adjust to Division I pitching, and we are seeing the dividends of that adjustment this season.

Kemp hit .450 (9-20) last week. He had multiple hit games in four of the five games last week. Kemp is the second Pirate to be honored as the league’s top hitter for the week. Ryan Wood was named back on March 10th.

The Pirates host ODU, and then visit Elon before coming back home for a Conference USA series with Marshall this weekend.

Now that’s a Super Saturday of Sports! Pirate football in the afternoon and Pirate baseball in the evening will make for a great day! Let’s just hope the weather cooperates!


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04/21/2008 07:01:37 PM


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