Is it bad offense or good defense?

by Eric Gilmore

The Purple/Gold spring football scrimmage is less than two weeks away. After watching the scrimmage this past Friday in the rain, I'm sure Skip Holtz wishes it were two months away. The good thing about ECU football is that it probably can't get any worse. Or can it?

The offense ran 11 10-play possessions, which were split up into six first-and-10 plays and four third-and-six snaps. Zero touchdowns and five turnovers. Granted, the weather played a factor, but the offense failed to score on every series. That's not a good sign.

The defense confused the offense on the majority of the snaps. They met the running backs at the line of scrimmage, hit hard and contested every yard. They scored a touchdown and created five turnovers. Greg Hudson's squad is light years ahead of the offense. Does that mean that the defense will be good or is the offense really bad? It's probably too early to tell.

Some thoughts from the first scrimmage:

The Good

Running backs:
Chris Johnson and Robert Tillman both impressed Holtz. Johnson still has his breakaway speed. He is small enough to squeeze through holes. In this new offense, Johnson should have a monster season. Tillman looks natural being back at running back. He was a super talent his freshman year, but got lost in the shuffle this past season. As of right now, Tillman will push Johnson for time. When the new busload of running backs arrives on campus, things may change. But for now, these two smaller backs will do an ample job of carrying the load. Jermarcus Veal is also shining this spring. On Friday, he stood out individually more than anyone else.

Defensive backs:
The DB position had been a weaker position the last couple of seasons. It won't be anymore. The position now has depth, some headhunters, and some guys that will make plays. Jamar Flournoy and Pierre Parker could form a very dangerous tag team. Travis Williams and Erode Jean are lockdown corners. Demetrius Hodges and Markeith McQueen are talented backups. Having some experience will allow the recruits to probably redshirt.

The Bad

So goes the quarterback, so goes the team. If Friday was any indication, the team might not go very far. Davon Drew got verbally spanked several times by Holtz. On one occasion, Holtz felt that Drew predetermined his pass before the snap. Drew was rattled and threw an interception on the very next play. Holtz wasn't as mad about the interception because he chose the correct receiver even though he did not put enough loft on the ball. Holtz would rather have his quarterback make a mental mistake rather than a physical one. Drew's throwing motion is very unorthodox and similar to Philip Rivers. The 6-foot-4-inch Drew will get the nod today when the depth chart is released because of his athleticism, but he is going to have to learn how to manage the game. Phil Petty, undoubtedly the youngest member of this staff, has his work cut out for him. Don't be surprised if one of the freshmen gets a solid look in the fall. Drew may be the guy, but right now, that's not saying much.

Wide Receivers:
It was raining, but the wide receivers had trouble catching the ball. Several players let the pigskin slip through their hands. Also, very few receivers created separation or made plays. Maybe the quarterback failed to see them, but no receivers stepped up. With so many receivers, it was surprising that no one sensed the opportunity and snagged it. It's clear that Holtz prefers speed burners to larger receivers with better hands. Aundrae Allison and Will Bland got the majority of the snaps while Kevin Roach seldom saw the field.

Eric Gilmore