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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

By Brian Bailey

No time for looking back

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


Replay last night's Brian Bailey Show with guests Phil Petty and Will MacKenzie. The show, Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show, airs every Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250-AM and 930-AM.
Replay Show
Pirate Radio Home Page


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Coach Skip Holtz knows his club can’t afford a hangover. You can compare it to golf. You don’t want that bad shot to turn into several bad holes.

That’s the concern at East Carolina this week. The Pirates didn’t execute the way they would have liked and lost to North Carolina State in overtime.

Second guessing is easy. This was one of those games that everyone has an opinion on.

Many have told me they thought the Pirates should have gotten a field goal after State’s first goal line stand.

I agreed with the decision to go for the touchdown. I think a touchdown at the time would have put the Wolfpack away. The Pirates would have had an 11-point lead and all of the momentum.

The worst case scenario was that you give the ball up, which East Carolina did, and hopefully the defense forces a punt, which it did.

Holtz had this reaction.

"Looking at it again, I would have done it again. I probably would have called a timeout before the play,” said Holtz. “There was a little bit of confusion, it seemed, between the fullback and the tailback on the play, but that wasn't the reason that the play wasn't successful.

"I even thought about calling a time out because it was a big play and I might have wanted to think about it for a second. But when I looked down the field, the official was all the way at the other end and there were only about four or five seconds left on the clock and I only had a couple seconds to get there. So I didn't do it.

"Hindsight is 20/20, but I still would have gone for it on fourth down. I would have called a different play, knowing what I know now, but I still would have gone for it on fourth down."

The Pirates came right back down the field, but again couldn’t get it in the end zone. They had to settle for the field goal. That was the right call, because that late in the game you had to come away with points.

Those two goal line stands won the game for the Wolfpack. Great teams make the plays to win close games. This time, the Pirates just weren’t up to the challenge.

"Obviously the offense, being down in the red zone a couple times late, had a chance, but our defense had the opportunity to stop them, too,” said Holtz. “I thought our kicking game had an opportunity to show up there on the final kickoff, when they turned and broke it back toward their bench for about a 45-yard return.

"I think there are plenty of areas where we could have gotten the job done in that game Saturday."

In the upsets over Virginia Tech and West Virginia, the Pirates dominated the line of scrimmage. Tulane certainly held its own against ECU. N.C. State beat the Pirates up front, especially with the game on the line.

Still, ECU had its chance in overtime. The Pirates got a first down, but then Patrick Pinkney got hit from the blindside and fumbled. State scored with its possession and won the game 30-24 in OT.

Pinkney wore his disappointment on his face afterwards.

“We just didn’t make the plays we needed to,” he said.

A loss like that one can have lingering effects, if a team lets it. That’s the challenge this week, to get over the Wolfpack hangover.

Houston is just 1-3, so the Pirates will once again be favored.

Break out the Alka-Seltzer or make that the Purple-Seltzer to ward off the hangover.


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09/23/2008 01:06:35 AM


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