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.





Pirate Notebook No. 325
Monday, October 29, 2007

By Denny O'Brien

QB rotation finally shows promise

By Denny O'Brien
All Rights Reserved.


For the second year in a row, Denny O'Brien is a member of the voting panel for the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, commissioned by the Bowl Championship Series. O'Brien was nominated to the panel by Conference USA.

The Harris Poll is a component of the BCS Standings. The initial 2007 BCS Standings, which also take into account the USA Today Coaches Poll and an average of six computer service rankings, were released on Sunday, Oct. 14. The most recent BCS Standings were released on Sunday.

Here is this week's Harris BCS Poll ballot submitted by O'Brien on Sunday:

 1 Ohio State
 2 LSU
 3 Oregon
 4 Boston College
 5 Oklahoma
 6 West Virginia
 7 Arizona State
 8 Missouri
 9 Kansas
10 Hawaii
11 Texas
12 Michigan
13 Southern Cal
14 Georgia
15 Alabama
16 Wake Forest
17 Connecticut
18 Florida
19 Virginia Tech
20 Boise State
21 South Florida
22 Auburn
23 Tennessee
24 Wisconsin
25 South Carolina

Complete BCS Standings


BVL: BCS Standings
Denny O'Brien's BCS Harris Poll Ballot
Peele: Scheduling down has perks and risks
O'Brien: QB rotation finally shows promise

Maybe East Carolina’s two-headed quarterback can work.

During several weeks of experimentation, the periodic shuffling had been largely ineffective. Occasional shifts proved momentum killers, with the presence of a new QB often foreshadowing a turnover.

That wasn’t the case Saturday. Instead, ECU’s quarterback carousel provided the offense with a needed spark.

Patrick Pinkney relieved Rob Kass in the third quarter and ignited the ECU offense to a 21-point barrage that iced a crucial Conference USA victory over UAB.

“He went in there in the series that he had and he did a great job, went down the field and put the ball in the end zone,” Pirates coach Skip Holtz said. “And then we came back there in the third quarter, it was like go with him. Go with the hot hand.

“He was poised. He reminded me a lot what I talked about after the North Carolina and Virginia Tech game. He was really into the game. There are some games that it may be (Rob Kass's) game, and there are going to be some that are going to be where it’s like this, where it’s Patrick’s opportunity.”

Unlike the past two games, Pinkney appeared ready when his number was called. Much of that can be attributed to a meeting he had with ECU offensive coordinator Todd Fitch early Saturday morning, when it was decided that Pinkney would man the huddle on the Pirates’ third series.

Prepared for duty, Pinkney responded by leading the Pirates on a five-play, 67-yard touchdown drive that included a 45-yard strike to Jamar Bryant.

After ECU’s first drive of the second half stalled, Holtz again went to Pinkney, who promptly answered with three consecutive touchdown drives.

“(Coach Holtz) said that we both can run the offense,” Pinkney said. “He said whoever had the hot hand, we’re probably going to roll with for most of the game. I guess I had the hot hand.”

Though the two-quarterback system was invented largely out of frustration — see Steve Spurrier during his Florida reign — it has developed into a college trend.

Urban Meyer and Florida utilized it successfully last year, winning a national title with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow both playing significant roles. Twice this season ECU has faced teams that are thriving under that philosophy — Houston and Texas-El Paso — and more coaches are becoming receptive to the idea.

The key to its success is the head coach’s ability to define the roles and eliminate any notion of controversy. Failure to do so creates division in the locker room as players have a natural tendency to pick sides.

There has been no indication of that so far in the ECU camp, as players have vocally expressed their support for both Kass and Pinkney. Much of that can be attributed to the fact that Holtz has made it clear that Kass is the starter, and Pinkney offers a more athletic change of pace.

Both have proven to be the better fit in certain situations. And as East Carolina pursues a C-USA title, both figure to have a prominent role.

Captain Chaos

Dwayne Harris is making fans forget Keith Stokes. That’s because the Pirates’ do-everything threat is a quicker, stronger, more versatile version of the former ECU great.

Just like Stokes, Harris has the ability to elude tacklers with tremendous balance and sense of direction. Harris just does it at a quicker pace and with more power to break tackles and carry the pile.

The more chaotic, the more Harris seems to flourish. That certainly seemed the case on his amazing 27-yard run on an end around.

“I didn’t see what I liked, so I made a lot of adjustments and cut the ball all the way back,” Harris said. “Coach, he was mad at first, but then I broke a couple of tackles and got around the edge, so he got happy.

“When it’s like that, I’ve got to think on my feet. If I can’t make anything happen, I’ve got to adjust to it. Making people miss is one thing I can do, so I’ve just got to get around them with my speed.”

Evolving force

Bryant had one of his better performances for ECU, finishing with six catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. However it was a first half penalty that showed how dominant he can be.

With ECU leading 17-6 and driving on the Blazers, Kass hurled a deep out in Bryant’s direction. But before he could grab what would have been a sure touchdown, UAB corner Zach Britten tackled him 11 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

“He’s getting better and better,” Holtz said of Bryant. “Last week he had some catches, but he had about as many drops as he had catches.

“I thought he learned from it and grew from it. I thought he stepped in there and did a really nice job (Saturday).”

Just a sophomore, Bryant has more upside then former ECU receiver Aundrae Allison. His height and strength are a dangerous combination, and he is quickly developing into one of the better route runners in Conference USA.

Send an e-mail message to Denny O'Brien.

Dig into Denny O'Brien's Bonesville archives.

10/29/2007 02:22:31 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.