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The Pirate Experience
Thursday, January 7, 2010

By Kevin Monroe

Color analyst for the Pirate ISP Sports Radio
Network, Kevin Monroe was a standout
defensive back for East Carolina from 1995-99.

Quarterback key for 2010 offense

All Rights Reserved.

East Carolina concluded another very successful season with a disappointing Liberty Bowl loss. Looking back on the game, I was particularly impressed at the play of the Pirate defense.

That defensive unit shut down one of the nation’s top offenses and future NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett.

It will take a while to get over that loss, but the thing I will remember about this season is that it marked East Carolina's second straight Conference USA championship. After all, wining a conference title is your number one goal unless you are playing in a BCS bowl.

The Pirates were fun to watch this season, especially during the second half of the schedule. It makes you wonder what their record could have been if they had played their first six games the way they played the last six.

Now it's time to turn to the future. With spring football on the horizon, let's take a look at what we can expect to see from the Pirates in 2010.

Breaking down the entire team is too much for one article, so lets take a look at the outlook for the East Carolina offense:

QUARTERBACK: The Quarterback position will be the focal point of one of the most spirited battles for a starting job. There will be at least three players vying for the position in 2009.

Redshirt freshman Josh Jordan, Patrick Pinkney's backup in 2009, is a pocket passer with good height (6-4), a quick release and a good feel for the game. He also has good feet and the potential to run when necessary.

Dominique Davis, a transfer, started three games in 2008 for Boston College, including starts in the ACC championship game against Virginia Tech and in the Music City Bowl against Vanderbilt. He runs well and has a strong, durable arm as evidenced by his 43 pass attempts against the Holies.

Freshman Rio Johnson wowed coaches with his ability in practice this season. He ran the scout team offense and showed his talents in much the same way that Dwayne Harris did as the scout team QB during his redshirt year.

RUNNING BACK: The Pirates will lose seniors Dominique Lindsay and J.R. Rogers, but will return a stable of good backs.

There is no telling what will happen with the careers of Jonathan Williams and Brandon Jackson. Both backs are very talented but continue to have off the field issues.

Giavanni Ruffin. who shared time with Lindsay over the last few games, will return as the leader in the clubhouse for the starting job and will most likely be competing with 2008 starter Norman Whitley, among others.

RECEIVER: The Pirates have nothing to worry about at the wide receiver positions where they will return their most experienced position group.

Starters Dwayne Harris and Darryl Freeney will be back and the backups have all gotten valuable snaps over the last couple of years.

Players like Joe Womack, Michael Bowman, and Andrew Bodenheimer will all play significant roles in 2010.

With the right quarterback, Harris and Freeney have a chance to be one of the top receiving tandem in college football.

OFFENSIVE LINE: The offensive line will lose veterans Terence Campbell and Sean Allen, but will be returning a great core of young lineman, including Will Towery, Cory Dowless and D.J. Scott.

Coach Steve Shankweiler will have to put in some extra work to mold these guys, but the talent is there.

IN A NUTSHELL: The Pirates have a chance to be very good on the offensive side of the ball in 2010, but they will have to fill in some gaps.

After getting healthy, running back Dominique Lindsay averaged over 100 yards per game during the second half of 2009. That level of production provides a key measuring stick for his successors.

Patrick Pinkney started the season slowly but really played well during the conference season and down the stretch. It will be hard replacing his skill set and experience.

Offensive linemen Terrance Campbell and Sean Allen, the leaders of the Pirates offensive front for a couple years, set a high bar that the younger players will need to reach.

Coach Skip Holtz and co-offensive coordinators Todd Fitch and Steve Shankweiler have plenty of experience getting young guys ready to play.

We will have to see who steps up in the spring and earns a chance to play next fall.

E-mail Monroe

Kevin Monroe Archives

01/07/2010 04:58:36 AM


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