Getting Back to Business

by Billy Weaver

The Pirates had the weekend off after a great season  opening win over the Duke Blue Devils but for me the work just begins. This past weekend I started looking to East Carolina's September 24th game at West Virginia. Why?  That's the first of four games to be televised by WITN this season and there's a lot to go over.

Did you know that West Virginia leads the overall series 14-2? I'm sure you diehard Pirate fans are well aware of the dominance of the Mountaineers in the overall series. How  about this… did you know that West Virginia has won the last four meetings by an average of just over 45 points a game? That's bad but after seeing the Pirates play against Duke I venture to say that this year's game in Morgantown will be much more competitive.

I've also started to look at game tape from the last few years and every time I watch tape of the opening coin toss from last year I get a chuckle.

Let me take you back to September 4, 2004. Team Captains Eric Butler, Chris Moore, Ryan Dougherty and Marvin Townes walk out to midfield for the coin toss. The referee asks Butler if he wants to call heads or tails. Butler calls heads. The coin shows tails giving the Mountaineers the option to take the ball or defer to the second half. They defer. The direct quote from the ref was "Do you want the ball or do you want to kick off?" Butler said "We want to kick off" Knowing that ECU had just made a big mistake, the ref then asked Butler twice "You want to kick off?" Butler replied, "Yes." Twice.

While this conversation was taking place between Butler and the referee, Chris Moore had a look of disgust on his face. He knew exactly what had just happened but only one team captain is allowed to talk to the ref during the coin toss. Moore was completely helpless as was former ECU player Kevin Monroe who had a front row seat to the debacle.

That day WITN just happened to be doing a feature story on Pirate Sports Radio Network sideline reporter Kevin Monroe so we were tapped into the radio broadcast of that game. I'll never forget what Kevin said to Jeff Charles and Carlester Crumpler in the booth following the coin toss. "Guys I think we may have messed this one up," said Monroe. "We may have to kick both halves."

And that they did.

West Virginia went on to beat ECU 56-23 so in the grand scope of things the coin toss meant absolutely nothing!

However, it did give Pirate fans a glimpse into things to come that season. From that point on, ECU looked dazed and confused in almost every aspect of the game and for most of the season. That confusion was no where to be found last week during the 2005 season opener against Duke.

Trust me! The Pirates will have their stuff together on September 24th in Morgantown.

Billy Weaver