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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 11, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Holtz gets to the point with the press

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Media Day 2009 at East Carolina was one of the most informative I have ever attended.

This is normally a day to preview the upcoming season. The coach gives an overview of what to expect and the players talk about their individual and team goals.

Coach Skip Holtz knew going into this year’s media day that there were questions that had to be answered. That’s exactly what the coach did.

Emanuel Davis, Doug Palmer, Jonathan Williams and Norman Whitley are all reinstated. Palmer has a shoulder injury, while Whitely is nursing a bad hip. Both are in the middle of rehabilitation assignments and won’t be available for a while.

I’ve followed the career of Jonathan Williams for several years now, first at J.H. Rose High School and now at East Carolina. Williams is on his last leg with Holtz and the staff. Holtz knew going in that Williams could be a problem and he has been.

Williams is back, but he’ll have to fight his way up the depth chart from the third unit. He is a great talent, but this team won a Conference USA title without him last year.

“My legal stuff and all of that is completely behind me now,” said Williams. “I could have gone somewhere else, but I want to be a Pirate. I’m thankful that Coach Holtz is giving me another chance.”

I asked Jonathan if he thought some of his off the field problems were about maturity, and staying out of a bad situation.

“I have to,” he said. “This is it for me. I just want to work hard and get better.”

Coach Holtz also announced Rob Kass’s move to tight end or H-back. Kass asked to get a chance to play.

“This is my last year, and I want to get on the field,” said Kass. “I want to contribute to this team any way that I can.”

Holtz said that he and the staff will evaluate Kass at tight end and the overall quarterback position early in camp and make adjustments as needed.

On defense Cliff Perryman moves to the defensive slot. You’ll see him anywhere and everywhere, much like the role Zach Slate played for the Pirate’s defense last season.

In his fifth year Coach Holtz has all of his own players in this program. It’s a team loaded with experience. Add in the continuity on the coaching staff and expectations are high for this season.

“We are crossing every 'T' and dotting every 'I', said Holtz. “I think this coaching staff has done a phenomenal job in doing what we've had to do every step along the way to make sure that this football team is prepared and not taking anything for granted. We're going to need every day between now and September 5th in order to get this team ready to play in the opening game against Appalachian State.”

“I feel really good about the experience and the maturity returning," Holtz continued. "When you look at the juniors and seniors who we have the ability to play with it is exciting. But I also believe we have an awful long way to go when you look at the depth concerns.

"There are going to be many guys who are going to play significant and contributing roles on this team who need to be developed. Many questions still have to be answered.”

Thankfully, Holtz has very few questions about who will lead this team. Patrick Pinkney was granted that extra year of eligibility by the NCAA. Pinkney has a very quiet confidence, but hopes to be more of a vocal leader this season.

“I think it's huge,” said Holtz. “When you look at a guy like Patrick, he is a guy who has been in that arena and atmosphere. You know how he's going to react. I think it's a huge vote of confidence for the players. A lot of these guys have been there with him and been in that huddle. It's not only comforting for Coach (Todd) Fitch and the offensive coaches, but also for the players.”

“We have a lot of experience in every position,” said Pinkney. “We’ve got weapons all over and we’ve got some depth.”

I think one of the big keys for the season is keeping Patrick Pinkney healthy. Pinkney played like an All-American at times, but ankle injuries really slowed him down during the season.

Depth is still the main concern for Holtz during this first week of camp. Coach Holtz sent out a twitter message earlier yesterday morning saying that he is very pleased with the competition at camp.

Competition always makes everyone better, so that depth concern could be easing a bit. This Saturday’s scrimmage will answer some of those questions.

That’s what the summer is all about. The dog days of August are used to formulate the final product. Two-a-days are a big drag, but the reward is another chapter for Pirate football in 2009.

Opening day is just 25 days away and counting...


E-mail Brian Bailey.

Brian Bailey's archives.

08/11/2009 02:04:20 AM


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