Odds and Ends

by Eric Gilmore

Preseason Magazines

The preseason college football magazines have been released for a couple of weeks now. Take your pick among Athlon Sports, Phil Steele, Lindy’s and Street & Smith’s. A word of advice: don’t waste your money at your nearest CVS or Walgreens (which can’t be too far).

They are all vanilla ice-cream, incredibly plain and contain no real taste. The only real variation between the four is that Athlon at least has a section devoted to the cheerleaders. Wait, I stand corrected: you could get a different cover of each…if you drive to California.

How can Lindy’s and Phil Steele claim to be experts when they write the entire content? It would take an incredible geek to be a so-called expert on every single football conference, much less football team. It’s hard for the Greenville media and me to keep up with the Pirates, so how can these guys?

All these analysts do is call the 119 Division I-A head coaches. With media relations personnel at each school, I could do that in a week. These ‘experts’ judge everything on statistics. If a cornerback (Zach Baker) has five interceptions in a season, then it must be an automatic qualifier for second-team Conference USA. They chose to ignore the fact that the more athletic Pierre Parker beat him out in spring practice.

In Lindy’s and Athlon Sports, the Pirates stand at 103. Louisiana-Lafayette is ahead of the Pirates while lowly programs Duke and Middle Tennessee both stand in the 90’s. How far have the Pirates fallen?

On average, Chris Moore and Travis Williams stand out as the only Pirates on the first-team C-USA. Second-team members include Erode Jean, Eric Graham and Zach Baker. As a team, the Pirates are picked usually fifth or last in the tough Eastern Division of C-USA. Marshall and Central Florida are candidates for last when the Pirates sneak out of the cellar.

Academic Updates

Coaches, players and now fans all seem to have their ears to the ground involving any new news on the James Pinkney saga. Pinkney is in fact enrolled in classes and must gain a 2.5 GPA for the summer. The former ECU quarterback has a familiar classmate. No, it’s not Reicko Jones. Sorry, it’s not Guy Whimper. Remember Josh Chilsom?

Chilsom, an undersized linebacker, enrolled in classes during the fall even though he was ineligible. However, it is my understanding that Chilsom did not enroll in the spring semester. He is now back and looks to be on the same course load that Pinkney finds himself on. Ironic, huh?

If Chilsom finds himself eligible in the fall, then he will have a hard time finding the field. With Jarrett Wiggins and Dashaun Stephens fighting for the last starting spot, Chilsom could easily be the odd man out. He stands only 5’11”, which is small for most linebackers. He has a decent frame, but lacks speed to be considered in nickel coverage.

Summer Camps

The basketball staff spent most of last week recruiting. Sure, their players were a little young and a few years off, but the staff was still hitting the trail. Actually, the four-man team didn’t have to go very far as there were conducting a summer basketball camp last week.

The camps provide a perfect opportunity to scour the talent pool of eastern North Carolina. More importantly, it was one of the first opportunities to bring in high school coaches from around the area to provide auxiliary help for the campers. Most of the campers were younger, but still seemed to be enjoying themselves.

It was odd to see some future hoopsters shooting at portable basketball goals outside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. The lack of square footage inside Minges is starting to become a glaring problem. When Terry Holland first came on board, he mentioned a practice gym in addition to Minges. During the school year, the women’s volleyball team competes with both basketball teams in addition to various concerts and even academic classes. Do I smell a capital campaign (after the football practice field of course)?

Eric Gilmore