Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather





Put your ad message in front of 1,000's and 1,000's of Pirate fans. Call 252.637.2944 for flexible options & rates.





From the Anchor Desk
Thursday, August 7, 2008

By Brian Bailey

The swagger is back

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

It all started with such a fury. The East Carolina football squad arrived a few days ago, checked in, practiced, slept and then awoke for media day to kick off the 2008 football season.

It’s hard to believe that the regular season is just over three weeks away.

The biggest thing I noticed at last Saturday's media day was the quiet confidence coming from Coach Skip Holtz and from many of his players.

It was much different last year, when there was so much inexperience all around. Remember, last year’s Pirate team was a 28-point underdog to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. That squad played a great game, especially on defense. That success paid dividends throughout the rest of the season.

“A year ago we had so many unknowns,” said Holtz. “We came in with a couple of quarterbacks, none of which had taken a snap. You had a bunch of defensive backs, none of which had played a snap.

"You had Chris Johnson – you knew he had a ton of potential, but he had yet to have that breakout year. There were just so many unknowns.”

Things are so much different in 2008, and the coach is quick to point out the positives.

“This year we have two quarterbacks with a lot of experience," said Holtz. "You have six or seven secondary players that have all played. You have three linebackers who have all started. You’ve got five offensive linemen that have all been in the mix.”

On Tuesday, the Pirates practiced for the first time in full pads. The temperature was 98 degrees that afternoon, and had to be close to 95 at 5:30 that afternoon when I arrived.

Working in the heat has always paid dividends for this Pirate squad. It will certainly pay off again this year.

“It could be this hot on August 30th against Virginia Tech in Charlotte,” said quarterback Patrick Pinkney. “We know that we have to be ready for it.”

I don’t think there is any doubt that the Pirates will be ready for the heat. While the first day in pads wasn’t a masterpiece of a practice, it was certainly solid, especially for the defense.

“I thought we worked really hard,” said Zack Slate with the sweat dripping down. “Nobody is really in a great mood, with the start of camp and the heat and all. It’s really just part of it.”

I wrote last year about Coach Holtz speaking to his team on the field in Blacksburg. The emotions were certainly flowing as Holtz told his team that they certainly belonged on that stage. He told them to look around, to be disappointed with the loss, but to understand that this program belongs on the same field with any team in the country.

That’s the attitude that this program needs. That’s the attitude that every successful football team in East Carolina’s history has had.

This program always plays better with a chip on its shoulder.

That chip is back.

Isn’t it great to be talking football again!


Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

08/07/2008 01:20:59 AM


©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.