Pirates Need Pinkney to be Better
by Josh Spence

As James Pinkney goes, so goes the ECU offense.  A run game is important for the Pirates to flow offensively, but it is the play of Pinkney that will prove to be the biggest factor in victory or defeat. 

The Pirates already owe a great deal of their performance this year to their starting quarterback.  To date, Pinkney has completed 57 percent of his passes, throwing for 243 yards per game, with five touchdowns and one interception.  James is on pace for a career year in each major statistical category, but the Pirates will need more.

After missing all of spring practice, we already knew Pinkney would have a tough road ahead.  Considering what he has been through, Pinkney’s performance could be characterized as amazing.  Despite joining the team late, and learning yet another new offense, James is on pace for his best season statistically.  Ask any coach in the country, I guarantee they would all take a quarterback who would throw only one interception through the first three games of the season. 
However, the time missed does seem to be hampering Pinkney and the Pirates.  East Carolina’s defense gave them a chance to win against a soon-to-be ranked West Virginia squad.  It was missed opportunities by the offense that took that chance away.  One key play came after a penalty and gave the Pirates a first down inside the Mountaineer red-zone.  Pinkney’s first interception of the year came in WVU’s end-zone and ended the drive with no points.  At other times during the game James seemed shaken.  The Pirate QB looked uncomfortable in the pocket, and frequently threw off balance.  Coach Holtz even benched James for a drive, later saying he thought Pinkney had trouble with his read progressions.  Pinkney has been caught locking in on one receiver, which is somewhat understandable considering the talent of junior receiver Aundrae Allison.

It takes so much for an offense and a quarterback to be successful.  So many players have to be in the right place at the right time for a play to work.  Mistakes that seem to fall on the quarterback can often can be traced back to a miscue by someone else.  James Pinkney will start his 18th consecutive game on October 1st against Southern Mississippi.  It is through leadership and management of the offense that JP has the biggest direct effect on the Pirates' success.  Pinkney has been good through the non-conference schedule, but if the Pirates hope to do well in conference, they need more from their quarterback.

Josh Spence