No margin for error for ECU
||The post-game slants
and audio bytes, as
penned and digitally
recorded by staff
Game No. 11 Vitals: ECU at Tulane
NEW ORLEANS Marvin Townes
should have taken a sample of the new Superdome turf back to Greenville.
After ransacking the Tulane
defense for 165 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries in East Carolina's
28-18 loss to the Green Wave Saturday, it would have been a nice souvenir
for his milestone day. Only a win would have been better.
But despite the junior
tailback's best efforts to tug his team to victory lane, a steady onslaught
of unforced errors derailed his mission.
It was enough to douse a
1,000-yard season with a gallon of cod liver oil.
"1,000 yards is sweet, "Townes
said. "But to come in here and lose, it takes it all away. We made a lot of
mistakes. You turn the ball over and make the type of mistakes that we make,
you never can win a game like that."
It almost sounds like a broken
record. In fact, you could take the post-game comments from any of the
Pirates' nine previous losses and insert them here.
Same story, different game.
"We've got to find some way to
not make the same mistakes over and over," Pirates coach John Thompson said.
"We had way too many penalties. We had way too many big plays against us
when we had momentum.
"Good football teams eliminate
mistakes, and we keep continuing to make the same mistakes. That's the
biggest frustration about it."
If it wasn't turnovers, it was
penalties. And just when it appeared as if the Pirates may claim the 'Dome
as their home, they were dropkicked into another haunting episode of The
Only, the spirits bedeviling
East Carolina weren't named J.P. Losman or Chris Bush. Though both played
key roles in the Pirates' sinking ship Saturday, neither can take credit for
ECU's tailspin into the abyss.
Credit the Pirates with the
victory for the other team. They beat themselves.
"We had them worn down,"
Thompson said. "We were dominating the game in a lot of ways. Then we make
critical mistakes. We give up a sack; we hold; we give up a big play; we
bust a coverage.
"There were numerous plays in
this game way, way too many for the 11th game of the year to have that
Especially considering East
Carolina can't afford any blunders if it expects to win. Though some can
escape with a B-minus effort, the Pirates have shown the inability to
recover from even the smallest boo-boo.
Holding penalties of which
there have been plenty have killed drives and deflated any momentum the
offense can create. Missed assignments in the secondary have turned busted
plays into long-distance scores.
"It's very frustrating,"
fullback Vonta Leach said. "To lose to a team that we knew we should have
beat, that everybody knew we should have beat, that we were favored to
beat.. it's very frustrating."
Looking back, the fuel for
frustration is multi-fold. While the talent cupboard isn't totally depleted,
it also isn't of the caliber to which East Carolina has been largely
accustomed since the mid-90s.
Add to that a large influx of
talented, but inexperienced freshmen in the secondary, instability at
quarterback, and a transition of regimes and philosophies that has been more
difficult than anyone could have predicted.
That has been the Pirates'
recipe for despair this season. Given the normal time table for changing the
tides, it could be a while before East Carolina discovers a winning
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This page updated:
02/23/2007 01:52:17 AM.