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Mike Houston Breaks Down The Very Latest on ECU Football

ECU head coach Mike Houston breaks down the very latest on the Coronavirus situation and how it affects the football program.
ECU head coach Mike Houston breaks down the very latest on the Coronavirus situation and how it affects the football program.

ECU head coach Mike Houston met with the press via teleconference on Tuesday to break down the very latest on the affects of COVID-19 on the Pirate football program.

“My message is that we’re all in this together and we hope everyone is functioning in a positive matter,” said Houston, “I can’t wait to get back in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium with our fans and with Pirate nation.”

“None of us have been through anything remotely like this in our lives and the world changed drastically two weeks ago. Our thoughts are with the Greenville community in addition to our football program. Our local businesses have been hit hard and we’ve talked about doing all we can for our local businesses trying to use as many of the take out options as we can to try to support the local restaurants.”

“The one thing I know is we will get through this and when we come out on the other side we will come out stronger than ever,” Houston said, “The reality is we’re all in the same boat and we’re all dealing with the same issues.”

Houston talked about where his players are currently while this Coronavirus isolation period continues.

“We probably have between 25 and 30 players who are here in Greenville. Some o those live close by and they have chosen to stay hear as opposed to going home. We know where each of them are located. The majority are at home.”

“The coaches have to adapt and survive out of our comfort zone,” said Houston.

The Pirates play the first game of the new season this fall when they take on Marshall in late August in Greenville.

“We’re game planning for Marshall this week so we’re planning for August 29th,” said Houston, “The players are doing the best then can of getting ready and when we get back we will evaluate the fitness of the team closely. We’re trying to stay close to the players on a daily basis with virtual meetings with the coaches twice a week in an effort to all stay engaged. It could cause problems if we don’t work hard to stay close together.”

“The two biggest concerns. We do have a new defensive coach and we’re doing as much as we can without practicing. We needed spring practice and we’re not going to get spring practice. I’m still excited about our talent but they are young and inexperienced.”

Some teams have a bit of a jump start after completing spring practice before this all began.

“You have some teams that finished spring practice and the majority did not get it so the NCAA will have to make some decisions. There are going to be a lot of advantages and disadvantages when we come back.”

The affect on recruiting could be drastic for the Pirates. Right now ECU has yet to land their first commitment of the year for the class of 2021. Last season the vast majority of ECU’s commitments came in the month of June so there is still time to salvage a solid recruiting year.

“The thing that hurts us is right now we would be having junior days and a lot of guys on campus and official visits. We would be able to go off campus and see players during the May evaluation period and we’re not able to to any of that. I hope we’re able to get a lot of that in this summer. I think we’re going to be able to do a lot of that stuff during June and July but we’ll see what a lot of that goes.”

“We are having virtual staff meetings and we had a virtual recruiting meeting yesterday,” said Houston, “I have evaluated about 250 kids. We’re having a lot of dialog with those kids. We can’t call them right now but they can call us and we’re having constant conversations with guys who are above the line on our recruiting list. There is so much going on right now that we are probably ahead in terms of evaluation and communication.”

Houston says they are in contact with a number of graduate transfers on a daily basis and hope to land a few to add to the roster this fall.

“The fronts are the primary position that we’re trying to talk to but we are talking to prospects at multiple positions on both sides of the ball.”

Houston did say that he expects ECU to get about a week’s head start on fall practice due to playing their first game in August against Marshall.

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