Top 10 Things To Look For
At Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium This Fall

by Josh Spence

Everyone’s excited about Pirate football 2005.  A new coaching staff, a revamped conference, and a new attitude. What’s not to be excited about?  Some new-comers may be feeling a bit overwhelmed, so here are the top 10 things to look for at Pirate games this fall:

  1. Cannons – It is an ECU tradition to fire a cannon blast each time the Pirates score.  With Skip Holtz setting the course for the Pirate offensive ship, and James Pinkney steering, we will undoubtedly hear plenty of cannon blasts in 2005. 
  1. A New Voice – Unfortunately the voice of John C. Moore can no longer be heard calling “first down….PIRATES.”  However, 1250 sports team member Morgan Ahlers brings a familiar voice to Dowdy-Ficklen this fall, as he becomes the stadium announcer for Pirate football 2005.  Morgan has worked as the P.A. announcer for ECU basketball for several years. 
  1. Terry Holland – Coach Holland has been an integral part in putting together the Pirates top notch coaching staff.  T.H. is sure to be roaming the sidelines come September 3rd.  And you can’t miss him, he’s darn near 7 feet tall!
  1. Purple Face Mask – The Pirates have some slight uniform changes this year.  Included is the switch from traditional gold, to purple face masks.
  1. Stronger Defense – 2004 was a dismal year defensively for the Pirates, as they allowed nearly 40 points per game.  Without question, defense was a priority for Holtz and company upon arrival at ECU.  An experienced defensive coaching staff has given players a more basic plan to work with.  The Pirates defensive unit allowed only one touchdown in the teams’ second intra-squad scrimmage last week, hopefully providing a glimpse of what is to come this season. 
  1. Spread OffenseEast Carolina will look to spread it out offensively utilizing 3 and 4 and sometimes as many as 5 wide receivers.  Expect the Pirates to work frequently from the shotgun, using a lot of misdirection plays.
  1. High-Octane Special Teams – Special teams was one of the bright spots for the Pirates last year.  Freshman Travis Williams used his speed and agility to lead Conference USA in punt returning last year.  With an average of 17.7 yards per return Travis ranked 4th in division 1-A football.  Smoking fast running back Chris Johnson is expected to be called on for Kickoff returning duties.  With that speedy duo and the strong leg of punter Ryan Dougherty, expect special teams to again be a strong suit for the Pirates.
  1. Pirate Cheerleaders – A crowd favorite every football season.  Pirate cheerleaders do a great job keeping everyone involved and excited on both sides of the field.  Male cheerleaders do push-ups when the Pirates score, representing the points the team has on the board.  And the Purple-Gold chant can be heard blocks away from Dowdy-Ficklen. 
  1. Great Tailgating – A pirate tradition for many years, tailgaters can be found all around the stadium on game day.  Grilling, drinking, and just having a good time the Pirate way.  Some tailgaters are known to arrive very early in the morning. 
  1. Inebriated Pirate Fans – Having a few “Pirate beverages” on game day is an East Carolina tradition.  Some know their limit, some not so much, but they’re sure to provide some great stories.
Josh Spence