From the Booth
Friday, October 4, 2002
By Jeff Charles
Voice of the Pirates
Now is the time for all
Pirates to man battle stations
When teams are struggling, it’s easy to jump off the
bandwagon or in this case the Pirate ship.
Now is the time the players and coaches need the fans
support more than ever.
As “bummed out” as some of you may be about ECU’s 1-3 start,
you can multiply your frustration a hundred times over and that feeling is
what is in the guts of this football team.
The players play for recognition and when you are being
recognized for all the wrong reasons (interceptions, blown leads, 536
rushing yards by your opponent, etc.) it’s not a pleasant experience.
When you are a coach it’s your livelihood. Stop and think
about having your future in the hands of eighteen to twenty-one year olds.
We sometimes lose sight of that fact.
A wise man once said, “College football is a bunch of middle
aged men, who get upset with a bunch of teenage boys, for playing a little
kids game.” That’s not far from reality.
One thing Jim Valvano said many years ago when asked about
the N.C. State basketball program summed up college sports nicely: “It’s
important, but it’s really not important.”
I think Valvano meant: Sure, it’s important to a lot of
people if the team won, but when you look at the entire scope of life and
what we see in the world today, it’s not really very important.
An incredible tragedy like 911 taught us that. Over a year
has now passed and people go back to their day-to-day lives and we start
getting our priorities out of whack again.
Make no mistake about it, Pirate football is important to a
lot of people and it is important to win games here. Football at East
Carolina is the engine that drives the train and it will always be that way.
A winning football team opens so many doors for the University that we could
write one whole column on just that aspect alone.
We often say that the athletics program is certainly not the
most important program at the University but it is the most visible. It’s
the front porch, if you will, of this whole organization. Its image is very
important. So hang in there and cheer your lungs out on Saturday. This is
the time that true Pirate fans need to step up.
News ‘n notes from Pirate Land…
Defensive tackle Hosea James told me this week that he has
had eight, count’ em , eight knee surgeries. It’s amazing he can still
walk, let alone play football. Think for a moment what the big guy from
Jacksonville has gone through. He’s playing his best football of his
career with three tackles for loss and a quarterback sack in a reserve
Speaking of defensive linemen, senior Ja’waren Blair tells
me he feels like a wounded animal backed in a corner after last week’s
defensive performance against West Virginia. He’s an emotional leader who
can have an impact on his teammates.
Tuesday and Wednesday it was back to full contact drills
on the practice field. The Pirates spent four periods each day getting
after it. That’s a change in the practice routine and we’ll see if it pays
Todd Berry’s record at Army is 4-22, now in his third
season. Navy, like Army, is winless this year, too, but Air Force is
undefeated at 4-0. It makes you really appreciate the terrific job Fisher
DeBerry has done with the Falcons for many years.
ECU’s all-time leading rusher Junior Smith continues to
progress as an assistant coach at Army. Coach Berry sings Junior’s praises
every chance he gets. The little guy has grown up in many ways.
The Army radio network has stations across the country
including New York City, Washington, DC, and San Antonio. Our radio
network affiliate’s sister station in Fayetteville carries the games, too.
Saturday should be good day at the gate. Parents weekend
has become the biggest event on campus in the fall and the crowd could hit
Remember our network lineup this weekend. We’ll be at U.B.E.
in uptown Greenville at 9:00 a.m. for Pirate Preview on WCZI 98.3 and WGPM
94.3. Drop by and say hello. The Pirate Sports Radio Network hits the
airwaves at 1:10 Saturday afternoon, followed by Steve Logan’s Television
Show at 12:00 noon on WITN and 1:00 p.m. on WRPX in Raleigh on Sunday and
the Call-In Show Sunday night at 7:00 p.m.
Let’s Paint it Purple Saturday!
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