ECU Pirates Chameleons
by Chris Stansbury

In most sports teams, franchises or programs, when the coach says the following statement it is called cliché or coach-speak. 

"We know the chances of getting the best players in the country aren't very high.  So, what we do is recruit athletes and try to find the spot that fits best for everyone involved."

Skip Holtz said just that on National Signing Day on Pirate Radio back in February.  As a matter of fact, one signee, Rodney Cox, was listed on the signing day roster as playing the position of "athlete."  Cox is a 6-6, 230-pounder from Harnett Central High School in Angier, NC, and played quarterback his entire high school career.  But Skip and his staff told him we'll get you into the purple and gold and find out where you can excel and that's where you'll play.

This is not cliché or coach-speak from ECU's third year coach.  This is a philosophy that is producing success all over the field every Saturday. 

Rob Kass had his off-field problem, plug in Patrick Pinkney.  406 yards later, Pinkney leads ECU to a win against state rival North Carolina.  Athlete. 

The defensive front seven have seen more shuffling than the World Series of Poker.  Khalif Mitchell, Linval Joseph, Fred Wilson, Jeremy Chambliss, Scotty Robinson, and, well you get the point. Again, athletes.

These guys show up at practice and don't know which position coach to follow when the team breaks up for individual drills. 

Don't get me wrong, I don't think this is a problem.  Quite the contrary, it's a major asset to this team that so many kids can adapt to multiple positions, assignments and responsibilities.  Coach Holtz brought in the best athletes he and his coaches could find and are molding them to fit the needs of the program.

If you listen to Coach Holtz in a Monday press conference, he discusses who is injured or banged up and then says we'll plug in Fred or Scotty or Khalif.  And the Pirates don't miss a beat. 

Juwon Crowell has been waiting his entire college career for a chance to make a difference.  Most kids would have gotten frustrated by their senior season and quit trying.  He's an athlete that worked with his ability and took advantage of the pivotal time when his coach tapped him on the shoulder said it's time to play.  Crowell's game-tying touchdown as time expired at UTEP was the CPR the Pirates needed to get off the mat and leave El Paso as victors.

It's a team of athletes that can adapt to their environment and find success.  They are not the cardiac kids, they are chameleons.  The only problem is the fans are popping heart pills like every Saturday was Halloween.
Chris Stansbury