Receivers Serve as Security Blanket for ECU

Against a tougher defense this past Saturday, East Carolina showed improvement on the offensive side of the ball, including Blake Kemp and the help of the senior tight end Bryce Williams.

In the first game of the season East Carolina’s offense had a new quarterback and offensive coordinator. While their confidence continues to grow, the help of the upperclassmen has also helped the offense to show improvements in week two.

Blake Kemp’s debut as a Pirate was a mistake-free outing but also was free of explosive plays. The longest pass play against Towson was 19 yards, but the first touchdown of Kemp’s ECU tenure came from a 31-yard strike to Davon Grayson.

Confidence has continued to grow in the for the ECU quarterback. Although Kemp made two costly mistakes against Florida, his three touchdown performance was an improvement from his conservative debut the week before.

“He took a few shots and bounced back up,” said offensive coordinator Dave Nichol. “They responded to that. You always know what a kid can do in practice and he’s a good kid and I think he’s tough. But to solidify that in a game, I think that was good for us.”

James Summers also made his debut at ECU but it came in the second quarter in the hostile environment of Florida. His debut may have been short, but Nichol has been impressed with the inexperienced quarterback.

Whichever quarterback is in for the Pirates, both will have their sights set on getting the ball to Bryce Williams. Only three receptions for 30 yards in the first game, the senior tight end came up big against Florida hauling in nine receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown. Nichol has given Williams the nickname “Gronk” and was compared to the New England Patriot tight end

“I don’t want to get his head too big,” said Nichol “Gronk is Gronk, but when he was dragging on that one play, he was dragging four or five dudes. From that standpoint, Bryce has grown up quite a bit and were excited about that.”

Isaiah Jones had a game high game-high 135 yards and scored on a 28-yard pass play. But outside of Jones and Williams, the other receiving options for the Pirates have also done well, even with limited play.

“I thought they played well,” said Nichol. “Jimmy Williams played well, he only had two catches but that’s not all you’re graded on. I think we have four guys that we feel really good about. I was very with Davon and Jimmy and they stayed in it. And there was a long stretch in-between catches for some of them but I thought they did a nice job.”

Although the Pirates did make improvements they also took a step back in the running game. Scoring four touchdowns against Towson, Hairston did not find the end zone in Florida and also had an underwhelming 15 yards on 17 carries. ECU would finish the game with negative 13 yards rushing, but Nichol thinks that the offense can work past their problems running the ball.

“Just continuing to rep all the stuff” said Nichol. “You just keep working the blocks and the schemes and just drill it, the o-line is muscle memory, and we’ll get better.”

This Saturday the Pirates will be playing a disciplined Navy defense. Navy only allowed 10 points in their season opener against Colgate. Even going against a disciplined Navy defense, the Pirates will go into Annapolis very confident.

“We’re definitely confident,” said Bryce Williams. “We’re not intimidated by how they play, we know they’re going to be tough, but we’re tough too.”

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