No Déjà Vu, Please
by Brian North

The last time an East Carolina football team opened up a season with a road trip to Virginia Tech, the Pirates traveled to Blacksburg with a couple of quarterbacks who had never started a varsity game for the Pirates. It sounds a lot like this year. Pirate fans hope the result is a lot different.

In 1998, head coach Steve Logan started sophomore Bobby Weaver under center with plans to play redshirt freshman David Garrard. The result was ugly; the Hokies demolished the Pirates 38-3. I remember it well because it was my last weekend as the weekend sports anchor in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I thought I might be headed to New Bern to cover a bad football team. But I was wrong. It was the last time a Steve Logan coached team was kept out of the end zone. The Pirates rebounded to win six games and went to bowl games three straight years after that. Bobby Weaver went on to start three more games for ECU before a knee injury ended his quarterbacking career. David Garrard took advantage and broke 16 school records in 1998 enroute to his Hall of Fame career that took him to the NFL.

Now it's 2007 and Rob Kass will get his first career start in front of a hostile crowd in southwest Virginia. Kass is a bright young man who did get significant playing time in the Bowl game in Birmingham last December. But he has attempted just 30 passes in his career and has yet to complete one for a touchdown. His back up Brett Clay has taken a few snaps but has never attempted a collegiate pass, and Patrick Pinkney has never been in a college game.

Taking a green quarterback to face the 9th ranked team in the country doesn't sound like a good plan, but Skip Holtz won't ask his young QB's to win the game themselves. They just have to limit their mistakes and let the running game, defense, and special teams do most of the heavy lifting.

There is one difference between 1998 and 2007. The young Pirate quarterbacks were coming off a losing season nine years ago and lacked some confidence. This year's group is coming off its first winning campaign in six years and has seen what it takes to be successful. We will find out soon if that will make a difference, or if it will be déjà vu all over again.

Brian North