Keys to the
October 22, 2011
By Kevin Monroe
East Carolina at Navy
Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, 3:30 p.m.
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (34,000)
For the sixth
straight year, Kevin Monroe, color analyst for the Pirate ISP Sports
Radio Network, provides “Kevin’s Keys to The Game,”
his weekly breakdown of what East Carolina must do to beat its
Monroe brings a unique perspective to the task as a
member of the broadcast team and as a former star defensive
back for the Pirates (1995-99).
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Carolina can defeat Navy Saturday afternoon if it achieves these key objectives:
understand that I have to keep harping on this key until the team gets its
turnover issues under control. Last week was a big step in the right
direction as the Pirates committed only 2 turnovers
against Memphis, while the defense
was able to get 2 takeaways to even things out. The bad news is that Memphis
isn’t a very good football team right now, so its defense isn’t a great
barometer for what the Pirates will face the rest of the season. Dominique
Davis had a costly fumble in the end zone to lead to the Tigers' first
touchdown but the senior QB suffered no interceptions and had a pretty
stellar passing and rushing effort. ECU needs to protect the football like a
treasure this week because Navy’s ball control offense will limit the
STICK TO THE
The Pirates have faced this triple option attack several times over the
years and they know exactly what to expect from it. Containing the triple
option, however, is easier said than done. The ECU defenders will have to
play assignment football, which simply means each player will have to do his
assigned job on each play. If everyone sticks to their assignments, the
Pirates can stop Navy's running game.
For example, on any given play each player is assigned to an offensive
player. If I am the outside linebacker, I may have the quarterback and will
have to be disciplined enough to stay with the QB even if I am positive he
is going to pitch the ball to the running back. The second I cheat over is
when Navy will pop a run for a big play.
The Midshipmen are averaging over 430 yards of total offense and 31.7 points
per game, with 332 yards per game coming on the ground. Nobody in the
country runs the triple option any better than Navy.
struggled at times offensively this season, particularly
against Houston and
Virginia Tech and in the 7-turnover
against UAB. In Saturday’s game, the
Pirates will need to score early and often. Considering that ball control is
a byproduct of Navy's style of attack, the Pirates must make every offensive
Having faced a very difficult schedule in the first half of the season,
ECU's scoring per game is almost 2 touchdowns below last season’s stats. The
Pirates are averaging 299 yards through the air and should probably be
closer to 350. On the ground, ECU should be averaging over 100 yards per
game, but is gaining 83 only yards per outing.
Davis seemed to find both his rhythm and confidence against Memphis, a
combination he will need to summon up again in order for the Pirates to be
successful in Annapolis.
The Pirates are 2-1 in Conference USA with a real shot at finishing well
with their tougher conference games — against Central Florida and Southern
Miss — at home, but they have yet to win a non-conference game. The Navy
game will be their last opportunity to change their fortunes outside the
Pride should factor into this game as last year’s matchup with the Middies
an embarrassing ECU defeat. But
pride must be accompanied by an A-game on offense and defense in order for
the Pirates to prevail over Navy.
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10/22/2011 03:45:01 AM