Meet the Pirates

North Carolina will pay East Carolina's Dowdy-Ficklen stadium a visit for the first time ever and the 10th meeting between the two in-state rivals. No ACC team has ever won in its first visit to Greenville.

Click here for a transcript of ECU coach John Thompson's press conference.

Both teams are looking for their first win of the 2003 season as each brings an identical 0-5 record into the game. They will play in front of a sellout crowd and a statewide television audience. Carolina leads the series 7-1-1 and last defeated ECU 24-21 on Sept. 6, 2001, in Kenan Stadium.

The Pirates fell to Houston last Tuesday night in Greenville, 27-13. They are led by first-year head coach John Thompson, one of the most highly regarded defensive coaches in the country. His 21-year collegiate coaching career includes 19 seasons as defensive coordinator with stops at Florida, Alabama, Arkansas and LSU.

Here's IC's weekly trip through the depth chart of UNC's next opponent.


Desmond Robinson (5-10, 207, Jr.) beat out last year's starter Paul Troth (6-5, 222, Jr.) during the preseason. Robinson set a school single-game record by completing 80.8 percent of his passes against West Virginia earlier this season. He ranks fifth in the nation in pass completion percentage. Troth has seen action in all five games and will likely get some snaps against the Tar Heels.

Running Backs

Tailback Marvin Townes (6-0, 194, Jr.) ran for a career-high 118 yards on 25 attempts and also had a pair of receptions for 23 yards last week. He will be making his seventh career start on Saturday. He became the Pirates top returning rusher when All-Conference USA selection Art Brown was lost for the season due to a knee injury. Carolina fans will remember Brown, who nearly ran back kickoff for a touchdown in the 2001 meeting, but was stopped near the goal line by Derrick Johnson. Vonta Leach (6-0, 249, Sr.) was rated as the No. 20 fullback in the country by The Sporting News. He has one touchdown so far this season, but is primarily used as a blocking back.

Wide Receivers

Terrance Copper (6-0, 211, Sr.) has 45 catches so far this season and is the nation's leader in receptions per game. He set career highs with 12 catches for 140 yards versus the Mountaineers. Sakeen Wright (6-3, 220, So.) made his first career start last week in the loss to Houston. He has just one catch for eight yards this year, but should get more looks due to his size. Wright originally signed with ECU as a quarterback, but was moved to receiver following spring practice. Robinson prefers his top two targets, but has completed five passes this year to Richard Hourigan (6-0, 194, Sr.).

Offensive Line

Tackle Brian Rimpf (6-6, 324, Sr.) is an All-America candidate, whose work off the field is almost as notable as it is on. As the team leader, he has paved the way for two consecutive 1,000-yard rushers and helped ECU average over 30 points per game over the past two seasons. The other tackle is Corey Schmidt (6-5, 309, Sr.), who has played in every game since his sophomore season. Center Doug White (6-1, 308, Sr.) is one of 38 players on the official watch list for the 2003 Rimington Trophy. Guards' Charlie Dempsey (6-3, 300, Jr.) and Hagen Mason (6-1, 308, Jr.) have both played in over 30 games apiece.

Tight Ends

Tutu Moye (6-0, 203, Jr.) missed the first two games of the season and is still recovering from a knee injury. Moye, who often lines up in the "flex" position, is the Pirates' third-leading returning receiver. He reclaimed the starting position last week. James Myrick (6-4, 271, So.) is the two-deep.

Defensive Line

Nose guard Damane Duckett (6-7, 289, Sr.) has had some of his best performances in the past three games. He had five tackles versus the Cougars and also had five tackles and recovered a fumble at Miami. At end is Guy Whimper (6-5, 275, So.), a member of the C-USA all-freshman team last season. The final position in ECU's three-man line scheme is called "bandit." Ike Emodi (6-4, 231, Jr.) has established himself as one of the teams' top tacklers, and has two tackles for loss this season.


The man in the middle is Chris Moore (6-1, 220, So.), who leads the nation in tackles per game with 17.5. He tied a school record with 24 stops in the season opener versus Cincinnati. Dashaun Stephens (5-11, 232, So.), who has moved over from the fullback positions, is the weak side linebacker – also called the "wolf." He had four solo stops last week. At the strong side position, or "stinger," is Kent Nealy (5-10, 232, Sr.), who had a career-high 12 tackles against the Hurricanes.


Defensive Backs

The Pirates start out with five in the secondary. "Rover" Travis Heath (6-2, 198, Sr.) is the leader of the secondary and an all-conference candidate. The "gator" is Mickey McCoy (6-0, 180, So.), the team's second-leading tackler behind Moore. Corner Donald Whitehead (5-10, 177, Jr.) appears healthy after missing nearly half of last season due to various injuries. Erode Jean (5-9, 177, Fr.) lines up at the other corner and the first true freshman to work his way to a starting position on defense this season. Antoine Nealy (6-0, 187, So.) is the free safety.

Special Teams

Copper returns punts, but has just a 4.0-yard average after eight chances. Robert Tillman (5-11, 170, Fr.), Townes' backup at tailback is the starting kick returner, but Townes and Demarcus Fox (5-8, 177, Jr.) have been more successful thus far. Kicker Cameron Broadwell (6-3, 200, Jr.) has made 5-of-6 field goal attempts this season. Punter Ryan Dougherty (6-1, 211, Fr.*) had six punts for an average of 43.7 yards per game, with two inside the 20-yard line in his last outing.

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