From the Booth
Thursday, September 12, 2002
By Jeff Charles
Voice of the Pirates
This much is for certain. Tulane brings an improved football
team into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Bagwell Field for the 7:00 p.m. home opener
on Saturday night.
During preparation for this week’s game, a lot of familiar
names have popped up on my spotting boards. Guys like Mewelde Moore, Roydell
Williams, J. P. Losman, Roxie Shelvim, Lynaris Elpheage and Kenan Blackmon,
to name a few.
The point here is that fourth-year Tulane Head Coach Chris
Scelfo has his own guys in place and his recruiting has been pretty good.
Is Tulane ready to turn the corner? That’s hard to say, but
the Wave rolls into town 2-0 with victories over IAA Southern University and
a Conference USA win over Houston 34-13 last week in Texas.
Scelfo took over for Tommy Bowden after Bowden bolted to
Clemson following Tulane’s 1998 miracle run.
The “Greenies” have a Conference USA championship to their
credit, that 12-0 Liberty Bowl Championship season in ’98. Tulane beat BYU
in Memphis that year 41-27 behind Shaun King.
Scelfo has posted records of 3-8, 6-5, and 3-9 his first
three years. He’s just 6-15 in conference play and the Pirates have had
Tulane’s number over the years. ECU is 4-1 against Tulane with the lone
Green Wave victory coming in 1997.
Tulane has been able to move the ball in the Scelfo era but
the Wave's downfall has been stopping people. This year they’ve only given
up thirty-two points in each of their first two games. You wonder if their
defense is really better or has it been the quality of the competition
Flipping the coin on the other side, how well will ECU’s
defense do against Tulane’s offense?
This Pirate defense has been designed to stop Tulane type
offenses — the kind of offenses that spread you out with five receivers and
feature one running back who can run and catch the ball out of the
Tulane certainly has that in Moore, a 6’1” 205-pounder who’s
being promoted as an All-America. Pirate fans may remember quarterback J. P.
Losman from ECU’s win over Tulane in 2000. The UCLA transfer replaced
Patrick Ramsey in the second half and was impressive running and throwing
the football. He’s put up good numbers this year, 56% through the air, four
touchdowns and just one interception.
This game will feature two of the best kickers not only in
Conference USA but in the nation.
ECU’s Kevin Miller continues to be outstanding. The Virginia
Beach senior has made thirteen consecutive field goals and made nineteen
straight from forty-one yards or closer. Last week he had a fifty-yarder at
Tulane counters with first-team All American Seth Marler.
Marler won the Lou Groza Award last year as the most outstanding kicker in
the nation. This year the Lithonia, Georgia native is 5 of 6. His kicking is
better than his punting. He’s averaged just thirty-six yards on eight punts.
East Carolina’s Jarad Preston is having another fine year averaging 44.9 per
boot on nine punts.
News 'n Notes
This weekend’s home opener will see the dedication of the
new strength and conditioning center. Drop by and take a look for yourself
Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The
people who so graciously made gifts for this beautiful new facility will be
recognized at halftime Saturday.
The good news is the student pick-up for tickets has been
steady this week. There’s always something extra exciting about the first
home game of the year and a night game seems to make it an even bigger
Punter Jarad Preston's parents will see their son play for
the very first time in Greenville. The Prestons are coming from Tucson, AZ,
Everyone knows about the Adams twins, Anthony and Antwan,
but the Pirates have another brother act this year — Kent and Antonie Nealy
from Clarendon and South Columbus high School.
True freshman quarterback James Pinkney has been running
with the second team. Backup quarterback Desmond Robinson is hampered with a
pulled stomach muscle and Richard Alston, ECU’s “do everything” weapon, is
out with mono again this week. The hope is Pinkney won’t have to play this
year. The 6’4” 195-pounder shows a lot of promise. He was rated by one
scouting service as the twenty-eighth best high school quarterback in the
country last year. It looked like he was headed to Iowa State in the Big
Twelve before the Pirates prevailed.
Till next time “keep painting ‘em purple.”
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