I wrote about East Carolina’s offense as spring football came to an
end. This week I will take a look at ECU’s defense. The Pirates
showed marked improvement across the board on defense in 2005 and they
return several players from that side of the line of scrimmage.
In 2003 and 2004, the inexperience from the players and coaching staff
kept the Pirate defense from playing to their full potential.
Coach Holtz brought in a more experienced staff, which changed the
mindset an attitude of this once defunct defense. The most
surprising aspect of last year’s defense was the play of the defensive
The defensive backs will return several athletes that either started or
saw plenty of playing time in 2005. Led by cornerback Kasey Ross,
who tied for the team lead in interceptions with 3 and was leader in
pass breakups with 8, this should be the secondary’s best group since
the 1990s. Ross, has the perfect combination of size and speed to
be a shut down corner in Conference USA this year.
Returning from a year away from football Jamar Flournoy will be
stepping in to replace the graduated Zach Baker at strong safety.
Kyle Chase and Pierre Parker will also return to add significant depth
at the safety positions. Pierre proved last year to have a very
keen nose for the football, tallying 3 interceptions and several missed
opportunities with dropped interceptions. Kyle Chase has been a
starter or major contributor in each of his previous three seasons at
safety and will add valuable experience this year in his senior season.
At linebacker the Pirates lost three senior starters in Chris Moore,
Richard Koonce, and Josh Chisholm. Filling their shoes will be
returning backups from last year in Durwin Lamb, Pierre Bell and Jarret
Wiggins. Lamb has great size and ability, Bell possesses the
speed and quickness from his days as a high school running back, and
Wiggins has a continuous motor. There will be some help from
several new signees at linebacker as well in 2006 including Orlando
Farrow, who is a Junior college transfer that should give some
Defensive linemen, like the DB’s, have a solid crew returning led by
senior defensive end Shaunte Hunt. Lining up next to Shaunte will
be guys like sophomore Brandon Setzer and junior Marcus Hands.
Hands has the most potential on the line, but a severe shoulder injury
cut his 2005 season short and kept him out of spring drills.
Overall this defense should be very good when everyone is healthy.
Pirate fans should be very excited about all three phases of the game
this year. I really didn’t get into special teams, but punter
Ryan Dougherty and place kicker Robert Lee are both returning along
with return men Travis Williams and Phillip Henry. All the pieces
are in place, but this team doesn’t know yet what it feels like to be
winners. There has not been a winning season at ECU since
2001. With a tough schedule and big expectations, we will see if
the Pirates have what it takes to get back to there first Bowl game in