Peerless Prognosis - Wake Forest - ECU

Never lacking frankness, East Carolina head football coach Steve Logan, traditionally resorts to a form of verbal fan edification that I fondly refer to as the Three "C's" approach – challenge, chide, caution. When discussing the upcoming contest with Wake Forest Logan employs the latter of the three.

It's no secret that Pirate fans expect an easy win against the lowly Deacons on Saturday. Coach Logan says not so fast. In his press conference this past Monday, Logan cautioned against overconfidence, "There will be thousands of people in the stands expecting some sort of show-up, let`s-get-it-over-with mentality, but I assure you that our players are not anywhere on that line of thinking. Wake Forest is more than capable of beating us." Well, uh, OK coach, whatever you say.

Coach Logan does have a point. When Wake Forest visited Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in '97 the Pirates were fortunate to escape with a 25-24 come-from-behind win. Now, keep in mind the Deacons had a very capable quarterback that year in Brian Kuklick. This year the scenario is a vastly different, but don't try to convince Steve Logan of that.

New Deacon coach Jim Grobe has yet to even settle on a starter between Anthony Young and James MacPherson, but according to Steve Logan the choice is obvious. In fact, based on Logan's remarks you would think that Grobe has a Heisman Trophy candidate in Young. When speaking of Young, Logan succinctly stated, "That cat can play."

Football coaches' traditionally speak of opposing teams in glowing terms and refrain from making predictions on a game's outcome. To his credit, Logan is no exception. Sports writers live by a different creed however, and, on that note let me tell you what I think will transpire Saturday evening in Greenville.

The air will be electric when the Pirates take to the field to begin a season that many think will be one of the program's most successful. That the opponent hails from the ACC will only add to the anticipation and excitement.

On offense, veteran ECU quarterback David Garrard will run the Pirates' spread offense effectively. A balanced run/pass mix will roll up heavy yardage on the out manned Deacon defense. As usual, ECU will rotate receivers and running backs liberally, but look for Leonard Henry to break 100 yards rushing in the game. As is to be expected in an opener, don't look for Garrard to be on top of his game, but I think that he will pass for over 250 yards and at least two aerial scoring strikes.

Switching to the defensive side of the ball for the Pirates, a befuddled Deacon offensive attack under the direction of two different signal callers will misfire when scoring opportunities present themselves. Midway through the fourth quarter, Pernell Griffin and company will enjoy watching the second and third teamers finish the game for the Pirates.

In other words, Pirates roll 35-10.


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