It was just over a week
ago we all got to take our first look at ECU football under the Skip
Holtz regime. Sure it’s still early, and there’s much work to be done,
but you get a feeling the ship is at least moving in the right
direction for the first time in over 3 years.
Maybe it’s just me, but does this time of year always get you excited
about the fall? Right now we sit undefeated, and maybe, just
maybe, we can find a way to win more than we lose this year. I
can’t guarantee that will happen this season, but there are some
changes in store for the fall.
New for ’05:
#1- Stadium Announcer
Did you notice the voice over the stadium PA? Sound
familiar?? It was. It was the voice of Morgan Ahlers, the same
person that does the stadium PA for ECU basketball games. Morgan is a
regular on the 1250 sports team, and will take over the stadium
announcing for ECU football beginning this fall. This was a great
choice by the ECU Athletic Dept. No one can ever replace John C.
Moore as the all-time greatest stadium PA guy ever… but Morgan knows
and loves ECU, and will do an outstanding job keeping the fans in the
stands up to date on the action on the field. His “first
down…..PIRATES” is not that bad either!
Skip Holtz made an appearance on “Live @ 5” last week and talked about
the uniform changes. ECU will have new uni’s for the fall.
The spring game is the last time you will see last year’s
uniform. I suggest they have a team cookout and burn one of those
jerseys to exorcize the demons!
We will go back to a more “classic”
look. One of the biggest changes is the helmet. The helmet
will remain purple, and the facemask this season will be purple
too. I have not seen this yet, but insiders that have say it
looks really sharp.
The big change on the jersey is no names will be on the back. Did
you hear me Morgan? That will make it tougher for some fans to
keep up with players, but may help boost program sales, in addition to
build on the “team theme”, not individuals, as Holtz wants. “I want to
go to a much more traditional uniform. East Carolina will still
be on the front. I told the players that we will have
numbers. I was contemplating just putting like DB, QB or OL on
the jerseys. I told them we will have numbers,” Holtz jokingly
told Pirate Radio. “The name on the front means a lot more than
the name on the back,” Holtz added. He sounded a lot like Coach
Herb Brooks during the 1980 USA hockey- miracle on ice season, but hey,
it worked for him!
#3- Strength and
Many in the Pirate Nation have been concerned on how physical we’ve
been in the 4th quarter the last few years. Holtz brings a new
philosophy to that program. John Greico is the man currently in
charge of the program. Former Coach John Thompson hired him just
over a year ago. John is one of the nicest guys you could meet
outside of the weight room. His role here at East Carolina is
solid, and I know he is eager to work with the new coaches, and new
When asked about that program, Holtz said, ”I think we have a little
flexibility right now in that there is a position that’s there that has
been left open. I was asked by the athletic department, by Terry
Holland and Nick Floyd, to sit down and evaluate John Greico who I
think has done an excellent job. He’s totally in the boat, he’s
got both feet in the boat. I think there will be some changes
there, meaning there is a position available that they did not want to
fill until they got the basketball and football coaches hired to get
everything together. Then everybody can get on the same page with
the direction we want to go in the weight room instead of just trying
to make a knee-jerk reaction.”
Many Pirate fans still want to see former strength coach Jeff Connors
back on campus. Well, they got their wish last week. Jeff
was on campus for the spring game, and even handed out t-shirts to his
former players. I saw these shirts and they looked awesome.
The back of the shirt said “ECU Football… Decade of Dominance”,
referring to his years here in the 90’s. The front looked just as
good. The word I hear is Jeff is getting tired of the scene in
Chapel Hill and would love to move his family back to Greenville if
given the opportunity. We’ll just have to wait and see if Connors
could be the one to fill that open position Holtz referred to.
#4- The Cannon
Well, it’s official, the cannon works! I’m not sure what the ROTC
guys have done, but the cannon in the end zone is the loudest I have
ever heard. I thought some people in the section I was sitting in
were going to have a heart attack after each score. Talk about
your “shock and awe”, they’ve got it covered with the cannon this
#5- Business-like approach
Last season we seemed to be disorganized, and our coaches made bad
decisions at bad times. This season, times have changed.
Holtz brings a refreshing business-like approach and an attention to
detail that has been lacking the past few years.
When asked about it, here’s what Holtz said, “Being a business major, I
feel like the president of the company, the most important thing I can
do is hire 10 managers. They are the ones that are going to have
one-on-one individual meeting time with those players. As we’ve
gone through spring, I’ve met with the players individually but those
coaches are with them anywhere from an hour to an hour and fifteen
minutes every day before they go out on the field. They watch
film, meet with them and go through everything. I think my
position players right now are my ten coaches. I need to coach
them; I need to see the direction of where we’re trying to go so we’re
all going in the same direction with everything. From my
standpoint after that, I’ve got to coach the attitude of this team as a
Expect big improvement in the “game management” skills of this coaching
staff versus last year. Here’s hoping the biggest change this season is
in the win column!