Last Saturday night's game against James Madison wasn't ECU's most shining moment. The game was never close and the Dukes came away with a 34-14 win, giving the Pirates their first loss to an FCS team in the last 26 contests dating back to 1980.
Offensive coordinator Tony Petersen is always calm and under control. But even he is trying to figure out what happened when the Pirates had the football in game one.
"Really low execution by us. I really have no explanation for it," Petersen said on Tuesday, "I would have bet a lot of money that we would have played a lot better but we did a poor job of playing and executing and a poor job of coaching and we've got to get it fixed this week."
Much of the problem stemmed from lack of execution along the offensive line where Garrett McGhin was playing his first game at center and overall that group didn't get their best results.
"You know what, we had a few guys who played a lot lower than we thought. We've got to go back to base fundamentals," said Petersen, "They knew who they had but their fundamentals were really poor on some plays and you've got some D-linemen from James Madison who have played a lot of plays and they took advantage of it."
West Virginia presents an array of concerns for the Pirates and Petersen outlined some of the things he saw in the Virginia Tech game Sunday night that he feels ECU can try to exploit.
"They were able to run the ball. They were able to throw it efficiently. You've got to make sure you take what you can get," Petersen told Pirate Illustrated, "You can't force it. They'll be in what we call P coverage quite a bit, dropping eight so you've got to take care of the football."
"You've got to be ready to check it down, you can't be afraid to punt it, don't force it, take care of it but you've still got to be able to run it and throw."
Last week, Clemson transfer running back Tyshon Dye mysteriously never touched the football. Along with inserting Thomas Sirk at quarterback, ECU will start true freshman John Spellacy at center and Petersen says the Pirates hope to better utilize Dye's experience and talent along with 6-0, 225 pound Western Alamance true freshman Darius Pinnix who got his feet wet in his first game in Greenville last Saturday night.
"Tyshon is going to get in there. 27 will be in there. After that we'll mix the other guys in, but Tyshon is probably going to be the biggest difference in this game and the last game."
Game time is high noon for East Carolina - West Virginia from Morgantown.