Pirate Football Team
Remains a Mystery

by Eric Gilmore

Skip Holtz must have learned a couple of tricks sneaking around football stadiums for much of his childhood. As a coach's son, he had plenty of idle time when his father was busying dictating practices. He probably knew the intricacies of the stadiums like dairy farmers know their cows.

During the games, Skip must have seen multitudes of offensive linemen over the years that cowered when his legend of a father bent over for his patented grass pick. That intense crouch usually meant that a Lou tongue lashing was eminent.

Unlike the burley offensive linemen, the younger Holtz probably developed a decent mechanism for hiding when his father came looking for him.

Already, four practices into the 2005 season, Holtz is still doing a little bit of hiding. Holtz and his staff are keeping their game plan extremely close to the vest. The secrecy resembles a covert operation rather than a public football team.

Holtz has implemented a policy for the beginning of the season that practices are closed to fans. The policy is not unusual nor is it unrealistic. However, the media is allowed for the first 30 minutes only, which usually includes general activities such as stretching and position drills.

The staff understandably wants to protect the element of surprise against their first opponent, Duke. The game film from the spring game included a simple version of the complex offense. Holtz knew that Duke would obtain and study the film. Instead, Duke would probably do better studying archaic games tapes from Georgia Tech under Shankweiler and South Carolina under Holtz.     

Jamar Bryant

Jamar Bryant was supposed to come save the day. The star wide receiver from ex-ECU head coach Ed Emory's program at Richmond County High School, is missing in action. He graduated high school in 2004. However, Bryant did not qualify academically and chose to attend prep school to add a year of maturity.

Much like Marcus Hands and Brandon Setzer, Bryant was able to play football without losing a year of college eligibility. After excelling at wide receiver and defensive back at Hargrave, Bryant signed a letter of intent with Georgia.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Bryant has blazing speed clocking a 4.5 second 40-yard dash. With two weeks remaining for classes to commence at Georgia, Mark Richt released a statement.

"Jamar Bryant has asked for and received release from his letter of intent with the University of Georgia. He has decided he wants to go to East Carolina University, which is closer to his home,'' Richt said.

Two weeks later, Richt's words may not be so right. Everyone assumed that Bryant would be on team when the Pirates started practice last Friday. That isn't the case. As of yesterday, Bryant has no affiliation with the Pirates, according to media officials.

According to these officials, Bryant has yet to sign a letter of intent for the Pirates. He isn't in practice and simply hasn't shown up.

Calls were made to the admissions department to detect whether Bryant has been admitted as a student. He is listed in the e-mail database as a perspective student. However, rising freshmen are already listed among the regular student population. He does not have a OneStop account, which all students are required to have.

Conceivably, if Bryant got his transcript and papers into the proper places, he could become a part of the team. However, that seems very unlikely at this point. But then again, he could be hiding.

Eric Gilmore