2008 CFN East Carolina Preview |
2008 East Carolina
2008 East Carolina
2007 CFN East Carolina Preview |
2006 CFN East
Head coach: Skip Holts
4th year: 20-17
Off. 21, Def. 24, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 18
Best ECU Players
1. WR Jamar Bryant, Jr.
2. DE C.J. Wilson, Jr.
3. FS Van Eskridge, Jr.
4. DE Marcus Hands, Sr.
5. DT Jay Ross, Jr.
6. LB Pierre Bell, Sr.
7. DE Zack Slate, Sr.
8. LB Quintin Cotton, Sr.
9. WR Dwayne Harris, Soph.
10. TE Davon Drew, Sr.
CFN Prediction: 6-6
2008 Record: 0-0
Virginia Tech (Charlotte)
Sept. 6 West Virginia
Sept. 13 at Tulane
Sept. 20 at NC State
Sept. 27 Houston
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE
Oct. 11 at Virginia
Oct. 18 Memphis
Oct. 25 OPEN DATE
Nov. 2 at UCF
Nov. 8 Marshall
Nov. 15 at Southern Miss
Nov. 22 at UAB
Nov. 29 UTEP
CFN Prediction: 6-6
Sept. 1 at
Virginia Tech L 17-7
North Carolina W 34-21
Sept. 22 at
West Virginia L 48-7
at Houston W 37-35
W 45-42 OT
State L 34-20
Marshall L 26-7
Dec. 23 Boise State W 41-38
winning seasons and bowl invitations have the Pirates approaching their
glory days when the program was a perennial mid-major powerhouse under
The school’s recent success, capped by a stunning upset of Boise State
in the Hawaii Bowl, has East Carolina fans grateful that Skip Holtz will
be back on the sidelines in Greenville again in 2008. Even without star
RB Chris Johnson, the program has enough returning talent to go along
with an air of confidence that this will be the season it breaks through
with a division crown and a spot in the Conference USA title game.
East Carolina has been building to a point where it finally gets over
the hump. The Pirates squandered a gift-wrapped chance to win the East
Division late last year, which will haunt them until they can make
amends later in the fall. While the Liberty Bowl is the goal, the return
of both primary quarterbacks and one of the league’s deepest defensive
lines signal no worse than a third consecutive December bowl game.
What to watch for on offense: Who plays quarterback? With RB
Chris Johnson out of eligibility, the quarterback is going to have an
even greater presence on the offense this season. For a second straight
year, the battle comes down to the multi-dimensional Patrick Pinkney and
the rocket-armed Rob Kass. Pinkney has a razor edge for his ability to
spark the offense, but the ultimate decision could hinge on the play of
the line. If it continues to have trouble with speedy defenses, the
decision to go with Pinkney becomes that much easier. Although both will
play this season, the staff would rather have one definitive starter
rather than a revolving door.
What to watch for on defense: The performance of the secondary. More
than any other unit, the defensive backfield holds the key to how far
East Carolina will go in 2008. The Pirates return a ton of familiar
faces, but until they produce, the memory of last year’s debacle is
going to linger. In their five 2007 losses, they yielded nine touchdown
passes and picked off just three, a trend the coaching staff is working
hard to reverse.
This team will be far better if …the offense can somehow make up for
RB Chris Johnson’s lost production. It’s going to take multiple players
to replace the multi-faceted star, but the Pirates need a collection of
players who can provide a spark to the running
and passing game. If it’s entirely up to the quarterbacks to move the
chains, the offense will be in a heap of trouble.
The Schedule: The Pirates have it nasty to start out with
Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and a trip to NC State in the first four
games. If the non-conference schedule already didn't have enough
issues, there's a mid-October date at Virginia just to keep things
interesting. Going to Southern Miss and UCF will all but ruin East title
hopes, and playing Houston from the West won't help,. but missing Tulsa
is a plus.
Best Offensive Player: Junior WR Jamar Bryant. In his first
season as the successor to Aundrae Allison, Bryant laid the foundation
for an outstanding career in Greenville, leading the team with 48
catches for 708 yards and six touchdowns. A big target at 6-2 and 208
pounds, he has great hands in traffic and can block like a tight end
when another Pirate has the ball.
Best Defensive Player: Junior DE C.J. Wilson. There are so many
quality linemen on the front wall, it’s hard for one player to stand
out. Wilson, however, is on the verge of doing just that. The Pirates’
best pass rusher, he’s had 16.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks despite
being a part-time starter the last two seasons. Now firmly entrenched on
one side and up to 6-4 and 271 pounds, he’s eyeing recognition as one of
the league’s premier ends.
Key player to a successful season: Sophomore CB Darryl Reynolds.
No, the fate of the feeble pass defense doesn’t rest on Reynolds’
shoulders, but he sure could make a difference with a big year. Only two
years removed from high school, he’s already flashed signs of having the
best combination of size and speed among the corners. If he can
gradually evolve into a stopper, it’ll have a ripple effect throughout
The season will be a success if ... the Pirates win the
Conference USA championship. No one in the league is clearly better than
the Pirates, making a trip to the Liberty Bowl the primary goal in 2008.
Much of the team that scorched eventual league champ UCF, 52-38, returns
with a chip on its shoulder and something to prove. This is as close to
the mountain top as East Carolina has been in years.
Key game: Nov. 2 at UCF. East Carolina desperately wants
another shot at a Conference USA title, which slipped through its
fingertips last November. Beating the defending champs in Orlando and in
front of a national TV audience will be a giant step toward redemption
and the Eastern division.
2007 Fun Stats:
- Fourth quarter scoring: Opponents 106 – ECU 48
- Average yards per carry: ECU 4.9 – Opponents 3.9
- Penalties: ECU 104 for 827 yards – Opponents 71 for 699 yards