Pirates on "D"
by Kevin Monroe

Last week I wrote about what the Pirates will be returning on offense in 2006.  The offense should be the best it’s been since 2000.  In 2000, the Pirates went 8-4 behind David Garrard and his ability to run and throw from the quarterback position.  The running back tandem of Jamie Wilson and Leonard Henry, and the receiving core of Marcellus Harris, Richard Alston, Derrick Collier, and Keith Stokes put up great numbers all year long.  It’s great to look back, but it has been a long time since the Pirates went 8-4 and none of the players mentioned before will be suiting up next year.  Let take a look at next returnees on defense.

Defensive Line- At the defensive end position, the Pirates will lose the ever energetic Lorenza Pickett, but return sack man Shaunte Hunt, his back up Michael Macdonagh, Big play man Marcus Hands and reserve Mark Robinson.  Both Macdonagh and Robinson came on strong toward the end of the season, and Hands was one-man wrecking crew before hurting his shoulder.  The Defensive tackle and nose guard positions will return everyone that played a significant role on this year’s defense.  Including Brandon Setzer, who proved to be a force in the middle, along with Dontre Brown and Fred Hicks.   There are some young guys that didn’t play much in 2005 but may see some time next year as well. 

Linebacker – Filling the openings at linebacker will be very tough, next to the offensive line; linebacker will be the position leaving the biggest void.  Star middle linebacker Chris Moore will leave ECU as one of the best linebacker’s in school history.  Also leaving are starters Richard Koonce, Josh Chilsolm and reserve standout DeShaun Stevens.  Pierre Bell showed us his potential in the UAB game and he returns with a host of young teammates that have great potential.  Durwin Lamb, Jared Wiggins to name a few, but linebacker is one position that could definitely use the help of some junior college transfers.

Defensive Back- East Carolina will lose free safeties Zach Baker, and Mickey McCoy and corner Demetrius Hodges, but the cupboard will not be bare.  The Pirates will return corners Kasey Ross, Erode Jean, and Travis Williams.  Kasey had a great season as the Pirates shut down corner leading the team in pass breakups.  Erode and Travis both got extended minutes throughout the year and could start if called upon.  Safeties Kyle Chase and Pierre Parker will also return along with 2004 starter Jamar Flournoy.  The defensive back position will be one of the strongest position groups on next year’s team.

Stay tuned, and next week I will break down special teams.

Kevin Monroe