Royal Review - East Carolina

Just like Hurricane Hanna, the West Virginia University Mountaineers were a no-show on an absolutely beautiful afternoon in Greenville, North Carolina.

10. As it was so eloquently stated at dinner after the game, "The honeymoon is over." The Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl win is over. It is great Coach Bill Stewart got the title of head coach. Fans loved the #8 preseason rating, and it appeared that West Virginai had a lot momentum with all its offensive linemen returning and two special players in Noel Devine and Pat White. This squad just took a 24-3 beating which raises questions and concerns in several facets of play?. With Colorado and Auburn around the corner, is there enough time or parts to right the ship? What are fans' revised expectations: 8-4 or 7-5?

9. East Carolina has a nice tradition where on every first down the P.A. announces, "It is a first down," and the fans immediately yell, "Go!" The P.A. hesitates enough for the fans to complete their shout, then follows with a pirate sounding "Pirates, Arrgghh."

8. As a Cincinnati Bengal fan I always enjoyed the song, "Welcome to the Jungle," by Guns-N-Roses, but today was another story. Between the third and fourth quarters ECU raised a deep red flag with the words "No Quarter," while blaring "Welcome to the Jungle." The fans cross their forearms like the cross bones of a pirate flag, and I must admit the place was rocking. The backstory to this that in the heydays of real pirates, a ship that refused to surrender risked the wrath of the pirate ship's crew. Once a battle began the Jolly Roger (i.e. skull and cross bones) was lowered and replaced with a "No Quarter" flag signifying that the pirates would now take no prisoners and give no quarter to their enemy. The No Quarter flag often featured the skull and crossbones or other characteristic marks of the Jolly Roger. The two flags could easily be distinguished however, due to the "No Quarter" flag bearing a deep red field for the background, as opposed to the common use of black on the Jolly Roger.

7. West Virginia has a significant problem on defense, as time of possession was again hugely in favor of its opponent. Last week Villanova held the ball for 37:22 while West Virginia kept ball for 22:38. It wasn't much better this week as East Carolina held the ball for 35:41 and West Virginia for 24:19. Every unit needs a leader, a play maker, and right now WVU doesn't have one. Hopefully in the coming weeks a player or two steps up to make some big stops. East Carolina was eight for 16 on third down conversions.

6. On offense how many of West Virginia's problems are due to the change in offensive schemes? As the season moves toward mid-season, it is hopeful that the offense will become more comfortable in Coach Mullen's schemes.

5. Congratulations to Pat McAfee as his 26-yard field goal, which moved him into second place on West Virginia's all-time career kicking scoring list with 312 points. He trails only the great Paul Woodside who leads with 323 points. Pat had another tremendous day punting as he boomed five kicks for a 45.0 average.

4. East Carolina was playing to win on Saturday. With fourth and inches and 14:02 left in the second quarter on their own 44-yard line, the Pirates went for the first down and got it. That was bad enough, but then on the next play WVU stopped ECU for a two-yard loss, only to see linebacker John Holmes flagged for an unsportsmanlike call. This resulted in a field goal for East Carolina. WVU just can't make mistakes like this on the road.

3. As I stated last week, I was concerned about West Virginia's running game. WVU doesn't run enough. The Mountaineers don't have any running backs on the current depth chart that weighs over 190 lbs. I'm absolutely fine with smaller running backs in terms of height, but your every down back needs to weigh over 200 lbs. Is Terence Kerns the answer? Today Pat White had 20 carries for 97 yards for a 4.9 average and Noel Devine carried the ball 12 carries for 94 yards for 7.8 average. On the flip side East Carolina's Jonathan Williams had 17 carries for 69 yards for a 4.1 average while Brandon Simmons had 16 carries for only 50 yards (3.1 average), but it appeared that East Carolina always got all the tough yards.

2. Pat White was 11 for 18 for only 72 yards. Where were the downfield passes that the coaching staff discussed in the off-season and that we saw in Villanova game? Was East Carolina's defensive line really that dominant where WVU didn't time to go down field? Last week Pat White was dropping back in the pocket and throwing nice balls downfield. This week the coaching staff had him rolling out on this passes.

1. Lastly, the Big East is taking it on the chin so far this year. The criticism the past few years has been totally unwarranted, but the results in the first two weeks of this season by most of the Big East speaks for itself.


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