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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

By Brian Bailey

It's finally that time of the season

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Game week rivals Christmas week as one of the most exciting times of the year.

The two milestones on the calendar are similar in that children can’t wait for Christmas morning, while football fans can’t wait for that first game.

For East Carolina fans, that first game is in Charlotte where the Pirates will face Virginia Tech. The non-BCS Pirates take on the Bowl Championship Series powerhouse Hokies.

I hate the whole BCS deal. ECU defensive coordinator Greg Hudson sums it up best. Hudson says it’s all MAJOR college football. Forget the haves and the have-nots. The Pirates play a MAJOR college schedule, and that’s all that really matters.

The Virginia Tech game offers up another great opportunity for Skip Holtz and company. Holtz knows his team will be underdogs again.

Last year the Pirates were 28-point underdogs. For the second straight year, East Carolina is a double-digit underdog.

Despite the loss in last year’s meeting with the Hokies, Holtz knows his team earned some respect, and turned some heads in that first game.

"There weren't many people who thought we had any chance to go into that environment, emotionally or physically, and play with a team of that caliber with all the returning starters that they had,” said Holtz. “I was proud of our team and the way they went in there and competed.”

"I think our players like to play the tough schedule. They gain some confidence. We've been competitive and close, and now we've got to get to the point where we can win some of those games, and it comes down to one to two plays."

Last year’s game with Virginia Tech did just that. The Pirates lost on a couple of plays. The one that really stood out was the Brett Clay interception that was returned for a touchdown.

What a difference a year makes for the Pirates, especially at the quarterback position.

ECU had no experience whatsoever at the position starting out the 2007 season. Rob Kass was suspended and couldn’t play. Brett Clay struggled.

Patrick Pinkney got his chance, showed poise, and earned a chance to start, and beat rival North Carolina, the very next week.

Pinkney has since solidified his role as both the quarterback and leader of this football team.

“We’ve all worked really hard,” said Pinkney. “It’s time. I think we’re all really ready to go.”

I think the entire Pirate Nation agrees. It is time to go. It’s time to kick off a brand new football season.

Coach Holtz likes to say that every team has its own identity, its own personality.

The coach knows that, just like last year, this first test will tell him a lot about his football team.


Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

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

08/26/2008 02:16:11 AM


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