August 20, 2002
The Big Picture
ECU lost some leaders David Garrard, Leonard Henry, Pernell Griffin but don't expect any major hiccups. The program is at a point where it can absorb some major personnel losses and reload instead of rebuild. Players are graduating and the staff has developed continuity. Steve Logan becomes the longest-tenured head coach at ECU in this, his 11th season. His assistants have more combined experience with the Pirates than any staff in program history. A fourth straight bowl appears attainable, even likely.
The new strength and conditioning center at the west end of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium has a 21,000-square-foot area on the first floor for
Pirates strength coach Jim Whitten to develop ECU athletes. Football players can work out on stair climbers, peer from the glass-paneled interior onto the field and do some visualization. It's a healthy situation, one that probably kept the Pirates from having flashbacks to last year's GMAC Bowl, and one that already is helping on the recruiting trail.
Probable 2002 Starters
+ returning starter * has redshirted
Since returning to ECU in 1998 after leaving with Bill Lewis for Georgia Tech, offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler has helped steadily improve the running game. With Brian Rimpf back and enough depth to move two starters to the second team, Art Brown should provide enough production to buy QB Paul Troth some time to mature. The catch-and-run abilities of receiver Richard Alston also will help. Special teams should be a plus, with kicker Kevin Miller in range of the school scoring record and punter Jarad Preston back after averaging 44.1 yards.
Cause For Concern?
Troth is a young quarterback, and Logan will bring him along slowly, which means a limited passing game at the outset. The defense, while fast, may be susceptible to a smash-mouth style because size was sacrificed for quickness, especially among the linebackers and corners. A week into preseason practice, the search for a functional tight end had not produced a conclusive answer.
(6-6, 5-2 CUSA in 2001)
|Aug. 31||at Duke (0-11)|
|Sept. 7||at Wake Forest (6-5)|
|Sept. 14||Tulane (3-9)|
|Sept. 28||at West Virginia (3-8)|
|Oct. 5||Army (3-8)|
|Oct. 19||South Florida (8-3)|
|Oct. 26||at Louisville (11-2)|
|Nov. 9||at Houston (0-11)|
|Nov. 16||at Ala.-Birmingham (6-5)|
|Nov. 23||Texas Christian (6-6)|
|Nov. 30||at Southern Miss (6-5)|
|Dec. 6||Cincinnati (7-5)|
CHART BY: THE ECU INSIDER