After a hot start to last season, East Carolina had everyone talking about whether it could contend for a BCS bowl. However, after a 6-1 start, the Pirates lost 4 of their last 6 games. Coupled with losing 21 seniors, ECU will be sort of a wildcard this year after they lost their record setting duo of quarterback Shane Carden, now with the Chicago Bears, and wide receiver Justin Hardy, now with the Atlanta Falcons. So with some of these big losses, and a couple of others, lets take an early look at what to expect from East Carolina this season.
OffenseAs previously mentioned, ECU will be replacing one of its best players in school history at quarterback in Shane Carden. Tasked with replacing Carden will be sophomore Kurk Benkert, a 6-3 sophomore from Florida. Benkert (above) has been learning under Carden for the past two years and should be able to have some success early on despite the tough start to the season. After losing Justin Hardy, the Pirates will also be digging into their deep wide receiving group especially Isaiah Jones who will be tasked with replacing his tremendous production. Jones was just named to the 2015 Biletnikoff Award Watch List earlier this week.
Another notable loss for ECU was its offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley who headed off to Oklahoma to join Bob Stoops. However, he will be replaced by long time wide receivers coach Dave Nichol. According Brian Wudkwych of Inside ECU Sports, Nichol made it clear he does not plan to change the offense much, so don’t expect this to have too big of an effect on the Pirate offense. One player to watch on this offense could be sophomore Trevon Brown who played a big role for East Carolina in the game action he saw his freshman year. Despite struggling with injuries late in the year, Brown had a big impact including 14 catches for 264 yards on the season.