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'Painting 'em Purple'
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From the Booth
Thursday, November 7, 2002
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By Jeff Charles
Voice of the Pirates

Houston game takes on high stakes aura

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The way I see it the Pirates are down to their last bullet Saturday in Houston. A win puts East Carolina at 3-1 in league play and keeps alive the dream of that elusive conference championship banner. A loss and the conference title hopes get postponed for another year.

If ECU loses at Robertson Stadium Saturday, the only motivation left is to win the last four to become bowl eligible and put another non-losing season in the record books. Thatís certainly a worthy goal, but letís be honest, if this team is 2-6 Saturday night, itís going to be tough to win those last four in a row.

The Pirates are playing for their lives this weekend and so is Houston. In addition, Cougar Coach Dana Dimel is playing for his job, and heís making it more difficult for the Houston administration.

UH is a surprising 4-4, and if Dimel can squeeze out a couple more wins he certainly deserves to stay. Even if he doesnít, can you really justify firing him after just three years? You need to give these guys at least four seasons.

Who will win on Saturday? I really think itís a toss up. Going into the Louisville game I thought the Pirates had a chance if they didnít turn the ball over. They had only one turnover in that game and still got whipped.

This week itís up to the defense. Somehow this Saturday, Tim Roseís bunch must play better and force some turnovers.

The offense should score some points, but it needs need some help from the defense, plus the Pirates can't go three downs and out and give up field position.

When teams are struggling, itís usually a case of too many holes in the dike. One week itís the offense, the next week the defense, then comes special teams problems, etc.

The Pirates have had a season full of challenges, and to this point theyíre working hard to find some solutions. Maybe Saturday will be the day that things start to click. This team played a solid game in beating Tulane in September. Theyíre capable, but time is running out.

News Ďn Notes From Pirate Land

  • Vonta Leach continues to make strides in practice as a running back. Donít be surprised if the Pirates even start throwing the ball to him out of the backfield.

  • H-back Demarcus Fox is still only about 85% following his knee injury in the spring. The former D. H. Conley star tells me he still doesnít have that burst. Fox is confident that it will come back in time.

  • Kevin Miller is up for the Lou Groza Award again. The Virginia Beach senior has had a great career thatís been overshadowed in Conference USA thanks to Jonathon Ruffin at Cincinnati and Seth Marler at Tulane. This year Nick Browne at Texas Christian is having a spectacular year.

  • Former Pirate and now Pittsburgh assistant Coach David Blackwell was a happy man Saturday night in Blacksburg, VA. Pitt at times manhandled Virginia Tech and when was the last time you saw that? It was only a matter of time for the Pitt program. The Panthers share an incredible training facility with the Steelers and play their home games now in the new NFL Stadium. Talk about a great recruiting tool. Everyday those Pitt kids are practicing on the next field while the Steelers are working out. Walt Harris is a fine coach, too. Iím not surprised that their program is back.

  • The good news this week is that Conference USA will go with one fourteen-team league for basketball next season. Think about it if youíre Bill Herrion. No longer do you have to play the likes of Cincinnati, Louisville and Marquette home and away. Those six games now go to three and you pick up the likes of Southern Miss, Tulane, South Florida, TCU, etc., every year. Thatís a better competitive situation for ECU basketball. This move could really help the Pirates on the hardwood.

  • Did you catch Louisville Coach Rick Pitinoís comment about ECUís home. Pitino said, ďItís really not an arena, itís like a college gym.Ē Rick, the gym awaits January 16th.

  • This weekís radio-television schedule looks like this. Saturdayís game will be televised on WITN Channel 7 at 3:00 p.m. Billy Weaver and Amanda Ross join me for the telecast from Houston. Doctor Tim Moreland slides over for radio play-by-play with Carlester Crumpler, Marty Feurer and Henry Hinton beginning at 2:10 p.m. on the Pirate Sports Radio Network.

  • Steve Logan joins me twice on Sunday. The television show at 12:00 noon on WITN Channel 7 and at 1:00 p.m. on WRPX Channel 47 in Raleigh. The Radio Call-In Show is back in the studio this week at 7:00 p.m., presented by Loganís Roadhouse Restaurant.

Till next time, ďkeep paintingíem purple.Ē

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02/23/2007 10:23:54 AM
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