football Edit

Houston: "We're Drastically Improved From The First of August"

Quarterback Holton Ahlers (pictured on Wednesday) leads East Carolina's offense into Raleigh on Saturday against N.C. State.
Quarterback Holton Ahlers (pictured on Wednesday) leads East Carolina's offense into Raleigh on Saturday against N.C. State. ( photo)

As this week’s season opener approaches at Carter-Finley Stadium between ECU and N.C. State, the Pirates continued their preparations for game one.

First year ECU head coach Mike Houston said Sunday night and Tuesday afternoon’s practices were really good. He didn’t like the way things went as much on Wednesday and Houston described how practice went on Wednesday in the Pirates’ two-hour workout in shells at Hight Field.

“I thought we took a step backwards today and that’s one of the things I talked to them about is consistency. We’re learning how to practice day in and day out like we have to,” Houston stated, “I cut back a couple of periods today because we had such great effort yesterday. We wanted to get things done in a little quicker fashion and I didn’t think they handled it very well.”

The way things ECU goes about it in practice is an evolving situation based on the kind of team this turns out to be and some adjustments could be in the offing based on the way this team tends to practice.

“Maybe this is one of those teams like one of those I had at Lenior Rhyne where we had to be in full pads every day. I don’t want us to be like that,” said Houston, “I’d rather us practice in full pads, shells, helmets and have a little bit of a mixture, but you’ve got to understand that the speed and focus and attention and effort doesn’t change.”

“You just try to set yourself up where to where you prepare better for game day. It’s the first time through and I would be disappointed if we didn’t have an excellent Thursday practice tomorrow because Thursday should be very very sharp, quick. It should be very fast as far as the way we operate.”

The first year ECU head coach did say his team overall is making a bit of a quantum leap forward heading into Saturday’s tilt at N.C. State.

“We are drastically improved. I am very pleased with the way the guys come in each day. They’re working hard. They’re not perfect. It’s just like today I’m not overly excited about today’s practice,” said Houston, “It doesn’t mean we won’t have a great practice tomorrow and it doesn’t mean we won’t play a great game on Saturday but we are drastically improved from the first of August.”

“Number one, I judge everything on the way we practice. Yesterday gives a lot of optimism. When you look at the tape, you can hear us on the practice field. We’re fitting things defensively. We’re executing at a pretty high level offensively. That gives me reason for optimism,” Houston told

“What gives me reason to be concerned is you don’t back it up today. We’ve got to learn to have consistency. Not that today was terrible but it wasn’t nearly the practice we had yesterday,” Houston said, “We have to improve throughout the week and build toward Saturday. They’re going to figure it out because they don’t want any part of what they’ve been through.