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.




Game No. 2: Virginia Tech 17, ECU 10


Game Slants
Saturday, September 10, 2011

By Denny O'Brien

Down day for Davis

By Denny O'Brien
All Rights Reserved.

GREENVILLE — There will be better days for East Carolina quarterback Dominique Davis, afternoons much more productive than the one he experienced Saturday.

In a 17-10 home loss to Virginia Tech Saturday, the Pirates’ normally prolific passer was anything but his usual dazzling self. Instead of the poised, commanding presence that has been mostly impossible to rattle, Davis showed an unfamiliar side against the No. 11 Hokes.

He was tentative, indecisive, and lacked that normal precision on his passes. He struggled finding open receivers and on a few occasions overshot the ones who found openings.

Credit much of that to the masterful game plan by longtime Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster. He essentially unveiled the blueprint for stopping the Pirates’ high-powered attack, which emphasized pinching Davis in the pocket and eliminating anything deep.

That took away two key components to the Pirates’ offense — Davis’s ability to connect with star receiver Lance Lewis and to make things happen with his legs.

While Foster’s plan had the Pirates’ seemingly perplexed, ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill said the Hokies did nothing unexpected.

“There was no confusion,” McNeill said. “(Dominique) just had a tough day in my opinion. We’ll watch the film and see what type of tough day. Dominique is our leader. I’m glad he’s on our football team. He’s our bell cow.

"Dominique’s the kind of guy who has higher expectations upon himself than a coach or anyone else could ever have. Trust me, he’ll take whatever is given to him and learn from it.”

There is much more to be learned than just the dissection of Davis’s performance. And some of what will prevent Davis from having another uncharacteristic effort doesn’t require watching film.

The Pirates’ shortcomings in the running game certainly didn’t aid Davis’s cause. ECU’s major flaw there was a lack of interest in running the ball altogether.

Davis officially was credited with the most attempts — seven — and five of those were the product of sacks.

It’s also clear that East Carolina needs to develop a security blanket for Davis when coverage is tight downfield, and while he is under duress. Though Dwayne Harris was the primary playmaker last season, he also was a go-to guy whenever plays broke down.

Even so, the Pirates still had an opportunity — make that numerous ones — to beat Virginia Tech. Several near interceptions and a drop on a sure touchdown pass ultimately provided the mathematical difference in this defensive struggle.

“We just didn’t execute, and I just did a terrible job being the leader today,” Davis said. “It showed. I have to work on myself being the leader, and hopefully something better comes out of that. A bad game like this, you can do nothing but get better.

"I’m going to come in (Sunday), watch the film, correct my mistakes, forget about it and get ready for UAB.”

The good news is Davis has been blessed with quarterback amnesia. On the rare occasion when he hasn’t performed up to his own lofty standard, he hasn’t allowed it to carry over into the next play, let alone the next game.

Also encouraging is the fact that the Pirates won’t face another defense as talented as the Hokies, or a coordinator as astute as Foster. Given Davis’s career struggles against Tech, rest assured he welcomes that.

Saturday’s 127-yard passing performance was the statistical low point for Davis, who routinely eclipses three football fields of passing real estate. Given his commitment and work ethic, there’s no reason he shouldn’t return to and remain in that familiar territory.

Send a message to Denny O'Brien.

Dig into Denny O'Brien's Bonesville archives.

09/11/2011 04:37:28 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.