ECU Coach Skip Holtz
is not exactly sure his young and inexperienced Pirates are ready for
this weekend's opener with Virginia Tech. "It's an unbelievable
challenge we have in front of us," the third-year coach said during his
weekly press conference. "It will be an emotional roller coaster
for everyone involved and I just hope we're not walking into a hornet's
Holtz definitely has reason to be concerned. ECU is facing the
top-ranked defense in the country in Va. Tech on the road. Add
the fact that the game will be surrounded by national hype and
emotional ceremonies related to the shootings back in April in
Blacksburg. Now we have to take into account that supposed
starting QB Rob Kass might not play for off-the-field reasons.
"Right now, we're addressing this as a team issue until there is more
information for us to go on," said Holtz. "I have spoken with
Coach (ECU Athletic Director Terry) Holland and we will handle this
internally. When the time comes to address it publicly, I will do
This only makes the already uphill climb for ECU that much more
difficult. Which means ECU may likely start a quarterback that
has never taken a live game snap in a college football game.
As if all this wasn't enough, the offensive line that had a full year
of learning under its belt, is not as healthy as ECU will need when the
Purple and Gold roll into Blacksburg.
History isn't on our side either. Since 1988, East Carolina
football teams are 1-9 when opening the season on the road and that one
win was against Duke.
Enough gloom and doom. We knew this was going to be a tough game
and a tough month. There are positives to be attained here.
The defensive front seven is about as strong as we have had in many
years. That same defense was a catalyst to winning quite a few
games last year and it can make a difference against Virginia
Tech. The Hokies will be jacked up for so many reasons and if the
Pirate D can come up with a couple big plays early, ECU can stay in
The offense can do its part to help the offense too. Whether it's
Kass or Brett Clay under center, we can't afford to turn the ball over
at all, let alone deep in our own end of the field. Chris Johnson
and Dominique Lindsay must find holes and hit them quickly. If
the offense can keep the defense off the field and rested, we have a
good chance at being competitive.
The next couple weeks may be the toughest stretch so far for Coach
Holtz and his staff. We've already seen what they can do in a
short period of time. So he may not be confident right now, but
you can believe he will do everything in his power to turn it around