ECU Working Hard to Fine Tune Offensively for North Carolina
Scoring more points will be ECU's mission this Saturday when the Pirates host North Carolina in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
The Pirates are fresh off of a 28-23 opening game loss to N.C. A&T and first year starting quarterback Reid Herring talked about the importance of this week's game with North Carolina.
"I think it definitely will be a big game. It means a lot when you're playing a school like UNC especially when you're at ECU, you know it's going to be a big game, but we're looking forward to it," said Herring.
There were several opportunities for Herring to scamper out of the pocket last week but he opted not to. It is the belief of many that once he adds that component to his arsenal it will give ECU a much needed extra offensive component.
"I've definitely got to use my legs more and create more plays and I've just got to clean up my decision making."
ECU offensive coordinator Tony Petersen hopes to have something special cooked up for the Tar Heels and to do so he will need to see continued improvement from of his young quarterback.
"I think it will be huge. I remember my first game in college. I remember all of the first games that I've been doing for a long time and I've had a lot of quarterbacks in their first games," Petersen said, "All of the sudden you're watching in their first game and saying that's just not what I saw and they got experience there. Once they get it under their belt, they improve dramatically after that first game."
"He missed some plays that I would have bet my life that he wouldn't miss and you know what, that's a first time quarterback in the stadium. Now we've got to go back out there and do it again."
North Carolina presents issues defensively with a solid defensive front and fast, hard hitting guys in the secondary.
"Obviously we've got to take care of the football. Their safeties are their best players, I think. They're big time downhill hitters. They like to bring it from the back end," said Petersen, "Up front they're different than A&T who was more twitchy and quick and moving up front. They're going to be bigger. We've got to control them up front. We can't let them penetrate in our run game or in pass protection and we've got to execute at a high level because they've got a lot of talent over there."
ECU has found themselves a little bit snake bit inside the twenty yard line where the Pirates squandered a pair of what looked like sure scoring opportunities. Petersen is taking it on himself to turn that around this week.
"We definitely left a lot of points out there. We've got to clean some stuff up," quarterback Reid Herring said, "Obviously I've got to play better. I left a lot of throws out there on the field and we are just working to clean that up this week."
"It wasn't pleasant but we still have to move past it. That game is behind us, we can't look back it now, so we're now out here working hard getting ready for the next game," said Herring.
On the other hand, throwing for over 300 yards in your first game is typically a good starting point and the Raleigh sophomore sees the positives that came out of it.
"We ran the ball pretty well. The running backs were looking good. We were just a few plays from a lot of points - a few small mistakes that we've got to clean up and we're doing that this week," Herring stated.
It was a little on the nightmarish side for the third-year ECU offensive coordinator who is helpless to make it happen from the sideline once the ball is snapped.
"It's frustrating. Somehow I've got to do a better job and help them do a better job so we can execute better. We've got plays that were there in the red zone but at the end of the day all that matters is making them," Petersen said, "That falls on me. I've got to help them to do better so they can execute better in the red zone."
For senior offensive lineman Garrett McGhin, it's his last go round against North Carolina.
"It means everything to me. Every single game, every single week means everything. We've got a test at the end of the week. We've been doing our best and it's time to get paid," said McGhin, "It's time to go out there and do what you do. We prepared well last week, but we weren't able to execute and we left a lot of points out on the field so we're looking to correct our mistakes, move on and really bring it to UNC this week. We're going to get their best shot and we're going to bring our best shot to UNC this weekend."
"This rivalry means everything. We kind of do more with less here at East Carolina. It seems like we never have the respect of anybody so even when we beat teams we shouldn't, people are still taking crap and it seems like we never get respect," McGhin said, "I like to think of us as blue collar guys that do the hard work and we're looking forward to bringing it to UNC this weekend. It's all about the next week. If you can beat UNC at your house it sends a message that you've moved on, you've made the corrections and this is a completely different ball club."
Game time is 3:30 this Saturday when East Carolina hosts North Carolina in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on ESPN U..