Thursday, October 9, 2008

game preview: East Carolina

TV: Raycom

History against the Pirates: 0-2

Last matchup: ECU 31, UVA 21 (2006)

Team records: UVA 2-3 (1-1), ECU 3-2 (1-1)

Last week: UVA beat Maryland 31-0, ECU off

Line: ECU by 5.5

ECU hangouts: Boneyard Banter

ECU season preview here.

Injury report:

OUT: OT Landon Bradley, LB Aaron Clark, TB Max Milien, FB Keith Payne, TE Joe Torchia


QUESTIONABLE: DE Kevin Crawford, LB John-Kevin Dolce, K Yannick Reyering, TB Hall Simmons

PROBABLE: OG B.J. Cabbell, WR Maurice Covington, TE Andrew Devlin, CB Vic Hall

It was really very rude of this team, going off and proving me quite the idiot last week. I wrote a snarky post that was full of rainclouds and doom instead of the uncannily sharp insight I normally provide, and they go off and bust some Terrapin skull. In the span of three all-too-short hours, a season that appeared to be headed for historical infamy suddenly looked rosy and, dare I say it, bowl-y, again. And as an added bonus, ECU, after a promising start to the season, has hit the skids and is tumbling fast. This looked like a surefire loss three weeks into the season; three more weeks changed everything.


- Everything we did last week? Do it again. In particular the blocking. Austin Pasztor will get the start again in place of Zak Stair. Stair is listed as doubtful but one place he isn't listed is the depth chart; Pasztor starts and is backed up by Patrick Slebonick. The man was a bulldozer against Maryland, but he's a 17-year-old freshman. If he can shake the usual freshman inconsistencies and repeat that performance, that left side of the line will be wide open all day for Peerman.

- Zero in on Patrick Pinkney. Pinkney is the guy that makes the ECU offense go. The running game isn't really special unless it's Pinkney himself with the ball - even then, he's more of a scrambling quarterback than a running one. To make things harder he's accurate on the go. The linebackers must contain, contain, contain, and the cornerbacks have got to have the discipline not to leave their man early or Pinkney will find them for big gains. It's going to take some quality coaching to come up with the right scheme at the right time to keep this guy in check.


- Complacency. Hard to believe a 2-3 team could be overconfident about anything, but these have been some crazy circumstances so far and most 2-3 teams aren't coming off a feel-good blowout win over a rival. It'd be easy - hell, it'd be human nature - to let the Maryland win simmer for too long, and for the team to find themselves in a 17-0 hole before they know it.

- The O-line play from last week turns out to be an anomaly. Look, they spent four games getting pushed into the backfield, and one not. Odds would seem to favor a return to the ways that led to horrible beatdowns.


Last week showed us what kind of talent there really is on this team. The skill position players are better than what offensive line allowed them to show off in the first four games. So now we have a pretty good bead on how the rest of the year will go, and it's simple: Offensive line good, team good, assuming the defense keeps up. It's been feast or famine all year and we can probably expect some more frustrating moments before the end. This should not be one of them. ECU is fading fast and losing key players. With Jamar Bryant out, half of Pinkney's favorite targets are gone, and Ras the Destroyer can lock down Dwayne Harris. This should take away a huge chunk of ECU's passing attack. I expect a win here: even if the the O-line can't repeat last Saturday's performance, I don't expect them to regress all the way back to Duke-game levels of suckitude, and the defense should be able to keep ECU in check.


Wake Forest 12, Clemson 7, Thursday
North Carolina vs. Notre Dame, 3:30
Georgia Tech vs. Gardner-Webb, 3:30
Miami vs. Central Florida, 3:45
BC, Md., VT, NC State, Duke, FSU off

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