Bonesville's exclusive weekly Internet radio program,
BONESVILLE HUDDLE, featuring insightful
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Gary Patterson's 4-2-5 alignment combines size up front with quickness on
the back end. Add to that his aggressive, blitzing mentality, and things
tend to get confusing for opposing QBs.
What should ease the burden for Troth is a solid rushing attack behind
Art Brown, Vonta Leach and a stout offensive line.
There's also a good chance Robinson will see more than his token series
per half, as the backup trigger man has earned his spot under center. His
presence could throw a monkey wrench into the Frogs' plans.
Still, this unit has been inconsistent, while Texas Christian continues
its solid play on defense. There's no question the Pirates should be able to
find some success on offense.
But how much?
When TCU has the ball
The good news for East Carolina is that Sean Stilley, the less mobile of
the two Horned Frogs quarterbacks, will be under center.
That could help neutralize an integral part of the Frogs' offense — the
"They're an option football team at the core of what they do," Logan
said. "They run a speed-type option with one back.
"The (Tye) Gunn kid really made them more dangerous and did a nice job
with the option. But mixed in with that is a spread type of offense where
there's shotgun, one back."
Where the Pirates will definitely have trouble is with TCU's corps of
talented receivers. Stilley is more than capable of picking apart the ECU
And he'll do just that.
The play of kicker Kevin Miller and punter Jarad Preston gave the Pirates
a chance to win in Birmingham.
Preston's perfectly angled punt pinned the Blazers at the two-yard line,
eventually forcing a safety, while Miller's game-tying field goal set up the
possibility of overtime.
Once again, though, the Pirates will meet their match on special teams.
The Frogs, led by Groza candidate Nick Browne, excel in the kicking game,
and in LaTarence Dunbar, they've got a pretty good return specialist, too.
East Carolina built its reputation by being a giant killer. Though TCU
hasn't exactly reached elite status, the Frogs are nationally ranked.
Winners of eight straight, TCU has been the most consistent team in the
league, whereas the Pirates have been among the most inconsistent.
Considering the Frogs' strengths and the Pirates' weaknesses, it seems
unlikely ECU will notch an upset. Frogs 27, Pirates 16.
Two-QB system proves its
Steve Logan shot down the rumors before they started. There is no
quarterback controversy in the Emerald City.
Instead, the Pirates coach has a luxury under center.
Not only does ECU boast a budding star with NFL potential — starter Paul
Troth — but also a genuine run-pass threat in Desmond Robinson, who provides
the Pirates with a nice change of pace on offense.
That much was evident when Robinson ably stepped in and almost rallied
East Carolina to victory against UAB after Troth was sidelined by a blow to
"Desmond did exactly what I hoped he would do," Logan said. "The plan
that we put in here four or five years ago with bringing in a second team
quarterback for the third series each half has paid off.
"When Paul had the concussion, Desmond came into the game and the benefit
of having this kind of system paid off. There was very little chaos and I
was proud of the way Desmond came in and ran the offense."
Robinson, who played the entire second half for Troth, completed 12-of-20
passes for 115 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. The Rock Hill,
SC, native also added 33 yards on the ground, twice converting on third down
with his nimble feet.
Though Robinson's performance wasn't flawless, Logan noted the young
signal caller played well enough for the Pirates to win.
"He had a few minor mistakes that the fans probably couldn't tell," Logan
added. "But he gave us a chance to win and to me that was good coaching.
"We had a plan and it unfolded properly. This week we will go back to our
same rotation. This gives us the option of when our starting quarterback is
struggling, Desmond can go with it as long as he is producing."
And that's a good thing.
C-USA Power Poll
(8-1, 5-1) - A win in Greenville guarantees a tie for the C-USA
2. Louisville (6-4, 4-2) - Up-and-down Cards need to find
3. Southern Miss (6-4, 4-2) - Eagles must break out of offensive
4. Cincinnati (5-5, 4-2) - 'Cats need help to share a piece of the
5. UAB (5-5, 4-2) - Blazers one win away from becoming bowl
6. East Carolina (3-6, 3-2) - Despite record, Pirates still have
shot at sharing crown.
7. Tulane (6-5, 3-4) - The Army jinx continues for Green Wave.
8. Houston (4-6, 2-5) - Wounded Coogs won't find much healing
against South Florida.
9. Memphis (2-8, 1-5) - The overwhelming question is how patient
will the administration be with Tommy West?
10. Army (1-9, 1-6) - Knights escape winless season with victory
Stopping marquee quarterbacks isn't exactly Houston's
strength. On Saturday, the Cougars face one of the nation's best.
Marquel Blackwell should have a fantasy day at the office,
providing the Cougars defense with yet another nightmare.
This one could get ugly. It will. Bulls 48, Cougars 20.
UAB at Louisville
In a battle of the league's quarterbacks present and future,
Papa John's Cardinal Stadium won't be short on offensive firepower Saturday.
The Cardinals' Dave Ragone remains the class of C-USA, but
the Blazers' Darrel Hackney is quickly making a name for himself. His
record-breaking performance against East Carolina will attest to that.
The difference, however, will be on defense, an area where
the Blazers are lacking. The Cardinals secondary will be a much stiffer test
for the talented Blazers QB. Cardinals 24, Blazers 16.
Southern Miss at Tulane
Fraud or legit? That's the question many are asking about
the Golden Eagles and Green Wave.
Southern Miss entered the season with high hopes of
returning to C-USA supremacy, only to drift into a midseason offensive funk.
Tulane looked to be on the fast track to the postseason, but a loss to Army
may have derailed those dreams.
What should classify as the league snoozer will live up to
its billing. The Eagles win an ugly one, 17-9.
Game of the Week
Cincinnati at Hawaii
Aside from TCU, the 'Cats are the hottest thing going in
C-USA. They should find the climate equally warm in the South Pacific.
What UC will also discover is a sizzling Hawaii club led be
scorching quarterback Timmy Chang, who has mastered Coach June Jones'
run-n-shoot philosophy. He has a deep corps of receivers at his disposal,
which presents a huge challenge for Cinci's secondary.
The Bearcats have made significant strides on defense, but
this is by far the most complex scheme they've faced. Aloha Stadium has been
unkind to outsiders and the potential for jet lag can't be overlooked.
Rainbow Warriors 38, 'Cats 30.