Pirates remain confident in Harvey

Following his three misses in New Orleans, ECU place-kicker Warren Harvey looks to regain his confidence against Southern Miss.

The place-kicker in football is one of the most intriguing positions in sports.

In a moment, a kicker can be made a hero and given more credit than he probably deserves. Then, in another moment, can have the lion-share of the blame cast upon him and become the scapegoat for a loss.

East Carolina specialist Warren Harvey knows this all too well. Harvey, a home-grown junior from J.H. Rose High School, was vilified for missing three field goal attempts in Saturday's triple-overtime loss at Tulane.

His struggles overshadowed the offense's inability to score touchdowns in the red-zone that subsequently forced him to attempt seven field goals (4-for-7). More attempts than he has ever tried in a single game.

"The first thing he wanted to do was take the blame upon himself," said ECU head football coach Ruffin McNeill. But he went on to tell Harvey, "No one player or group wins or loses a football game. That's the way we feel here at our program."

To reiterate this message even further, McNeill held a team meeting on Sunday to reaffirm his confidence in Harvey as the Pirates' kicker. With thoughts about missed opportunities still fresh on his mind, the meeting helped Harvey move on.

"It meant a lot, I definitely took it to my heart," said Harvey. "I love Coach Ruff, I love playing for him and all of my coaches. And not only them, but also my teammates. I feel like it's definitely a great sports staff behind me."

Harvey has proved in the past that he can shake off adversity and still be able to find a rhythm in the kicking game. When he first took over the kicking duties last season, Harvey missed his first two field goal tries. But instead of having this become a trend, Harvey went 15-for-18 on his attempts for the rest of the season and was a perfect 50-for-50 on PAT's.

His consistency in 2012 was rewarded with preseason accolades over the summer. Harvey's name was included on the Lou Groza Award Watch List, which is annually awarded to college football's best place-kicker.

With his struggles against Tulane included, Harvey is 10-of-16 on field goal attempts this season, but still has yet to miss an extra point (25-for-25).

Now, he must regain his confidence as ECU begins the second half of its season Saturday afternoon against Southern Miss. At a position that relies so heavily on mental makeup, special teams coordinator Kirk Doll does not think his kicker will be fazed at all by his performance in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

"I don't think there is any question. He's that type of person and he'll (bounce back)."

Being a Greenville, N.C., native, Harvey takes a great amount of pride playing for ECU because he understands how passionate the athletics department and the fan base are about football.

"Growing up around this town, I know this sport that ECU has and Pirate Nation is strong," said Harvey. "I know being from here, I've grown up and I've seen it. I've seen good times, I've seen bad times.

"I just try and come out and do whatever I can to help my team in whichever way I can and however it may be."

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