Depth Chart |
After the ugly but brief John Thompson era with a mere three wins
(with two of them coming over Army) in 2003 and 2004, Skip Holtz
came in and turned around a veteran team providing hope that ECU can
again be among the Conference USA elite.
The passing game became a plus, one of the nation's worst
defenses improved, and enough overall strides were made to erase
most of the memories of the previous few seasons.
Holtz's first job has been to upgrade the overall talent level, and
he has done it through the JUCO ranks to get immediate results in
Head coach: Skip Holts
2nd year: 5-6
Off. 19, Def. 18, ST 5
Lettermen Lost: 26
Best ECU Players
1. WR Aundrae Allison, Sr.
2. DE Marcus Hands, Jr.
3. QB James Pinkney, Sr.
4. RB Chris Johnson, Jr.
5. P Ryan Dougherty, Sr.
6. PK Robert Lee, Sr.
7. CB Kasey Ross, Sr.
8. OT Eric Graham, Sr.
9. DE Shauntae Hunt, Sr.
10. DT Brandon Setzer, Soph.
at Southern Miss
at NC State
2005 predicted wins
Duke W 24-21
at Wake Forest L 44-34
at West Virginia L 20-15
Southern Miss L 33-7
at SMU W 24-17
at Memphis L 27-24
at Tulsa L 45-13
at Marshall W 34-29
UAB W 31-23
Aundrae Allison turned into one of the league's best
receivers last year, and three good linebackers were brought in to
be an instant boost this season. Task number two will be to start
beating the better teams.
Oh sure, wins over SMU and
UAB prevented those two from finishing with winning records, but to be a
player in the Conference USA world, the Pirates will have to shine
against teams like Southern Miss, UCF and Tulsa. Those three beat ECU by a combined score of 108 to 40,
and there's little hope to be in the hunt for the conference title
without winning two of those three games this season. This team might be
good enough to do it.
If Allison and running back Chris Johnson return healthy after missing
spring ball with injuries, they'll combine with quarterback James
Pinkney to form one of the league's best offenses. The offensive line
has some patching up to do, but it's expected to be fine.
The defense needs to be better against the run after getting steamrolled
over last season, but there's enough size up front and experience in the
front four to hope for an improvement. The secondary should be excellent
with several good veterans returning from one of the league's best pass
Remember, it wasn't all that long ago when this was one of the best
programs in Conference USA, and Holtz appears to have it close to being
there again. If it can make the same progress from last year to this
year that it made in 2005, a title isn't out of the question.
Schedule: It's a
tale of two seasons with a stretch of five straight home games starting
in mid-September followed up by four road games in the final five.
Unfortunately, key division games against Southern Miss and UCF will be
in back-to-back weeks away from Dowdy-Ficklen. The non-conference
schedule is a bit of a beat going to Navy for the opener and playing
West Virginia, Virginia, and at NC State.
Offensive Player: Senior WR Aundrae Allison. He cooled off after
starting out as the nation's best receiver over the first three games,
but he still became a steady number one target. He's returning from a
knee injury with the expectation that he'll return fine and be one of
the league's top weapons.
Defensive Player: Junior DE Marcus Hands. The 270-pound junior was
having an All-America type season before getting knocked out with a
shoulder injury. He's tackle-strong with excellent pass rushing moves.
If healthy, he'll be the key cog on D.
to a successful season: Senior QB James Pinkney. He had a fantastic
first season under Holtz, and now he needs to be the difference between
a good season and a possible title. He needs to cut down on the
interceptions a little bit and be a quicker decision maker. Expect both
to happen after a year in the system.
will be a success if ... East Carolina finishes with a winning year and goes to a bowl.
If it's going to happen, there needs to be a hot start and a few upsets
over the second half of the year. Pirate fans are still trying to erase
memories of the last post-season appearance, the 64-61 loss to Marshall
in the GMAC Bowl.
Sept. 9 at UAB. ECU ruined UAB's season with a 31-23 win in the
season finale. A win in Birmingham is a must with home dates against
bowl teams Memphis, West Virginia, Virginia and Tulsa ahead along with a
few brutal conference road dates in the back half of the year.
The Last Time East Carolina…
- First quarter scoring: Opponents 88 - East Carolina 34
- Rushing yards per game: Opponents 217.6 - East Carolina 137.5
- Third down conversions: Opponents 80 of 172 (47%) - East Carolina 59
of 159 (37%)
…played in a bowl game…2001 (GMAC Bowl vs. Marshall)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2000 (Duke)
…was shutout…1997 (Syracuse)
…scored 50 points…2002 (Houston)
…won a conference title…1976 (Southern Conference)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…1991 (Jeff Blake)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2003 (Marvin Townes)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2005 (Aundrae Allison)
…had a first-round draft choice…1992 (LB Robert Jones)