Keys to the
October 28, 2011
By Kevin Monroe
East Carolina vs. Tulane
Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 • 3:30 p.m.
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (50,000), Greenville, NC
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).
All Rights Reserved.
Carolina can defeat Tulane Saturday afternoon if it achieves these key objectives:
The Pirates have outplayed their last two opponents where it matters most —
at the line of scrimmage. They have pieced together an offensive line unit
that has stepped up despite a number of injuries and the adjustments that
had to be made. Doug Polochak went down and Josh Clark, who started the
season as a backup at guard, has now started two games at center. Clark is
the third center to start this season. Jordan Davis was injured and Steven
Baker filled in, starting the last three games at left tackle. Davis came
back from injury and has started two games at left guard, replacing the
injured Adhem Elsawi. Halfway through
the Memphis game, this unit came
together and has done a great job ever since in the run game and pass
On the defensive side of the ball, it is no different. The Pirates need to
control the line of scrimmage. They cannot allow Tulane’s running backs to
have a good day on the ground and they must put pressure on junior
quarterback Ryan Griffin.
MOVE THE CHAINS
East Carolina’s goal each week is to get 100 plays on offense. It is a very
lofty goal that has yet to be achieved this season.
Last week’s game at Navy had the
Pirates running 89 plays, the most this season and the only time over 80
the opener against South Carolina.
Reaching 100 is symbolic, but what it really means is that the Pirates are
moving the ball, getting first downs, piling up yards and most likely
scoring points. Running that many plays would also mean dominating time of
possession. Moving the chains equals winning. Only good things come from
eating up clock and gaining positive yardage.
THE HOME FIELD
won 11 of its last 12 Conference USA home games and 16 of its last 19.
Saturday’s game is Homecoming and another opportunity for the Pirates to
play at home before a capacity crowd. As a player, you only get 24 home
games in a four-year career and every one of them is special. Dowdy-Ficklen
and the Boneyard have developed into one of the best stadium environments in
ECU is 8-2 all-time against Tulane and has won on all six occasions when the
Green Wave visited Greenville. Later this season the Pirates will also face
Southern Miss and Central Florida in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, so they'll have
the opportunity to leverage the home field advantage against a couple of
their toughest remaining opponents. But first, it all starts with Tulane on
The Pirates are well-positioned in the Conference USA standings at 2-1 and
they are facing a 2-6 Tulane team that is struggling. Getting this league
win would set ECU up nicely for next week's showdown at home with Southern
Miss. As an analyst, I am allowed to look ahead, but the Pirate coaches and
players need to take this game one play at a time. East Carolina has
protected the football well over the last two weeks and will need to
continue that on Saturday.
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10/28/2011 03:07:33 AM