State of the Pirates, from a NC perspective

Raleigh News & Observer: Can East Carolina recover from its latest self-inflicted football mess?

In any case, there's no question the feelings are familiar in Greenville after an 0-2 start that includes a lopsided home loss to FCS James Madison and a no-contest road loss at West Virginia, with players pointing fingers at each other and the defensive coordinator summarily fired Sunday in a spasm of desperation.

The disarray resembles, in too many ways, the bottoming-out season of 2004, after which John Thompson was fired with a career record of 3-20. It took some miracle work from Skip Holtz to resurrect the program into what it was as recently as three years ago, under Ruffin McNeill.

Scottie Montgomery is 3-11 early in his second season, with the stunning upset of bowl-bound N.C. State last season his first win and only notable triumph so far. Up next? Sixteenth-ranked Virginia Tech on Saturday. In years past, the Pirates would have been salivating at the prospect of getting a shot at the Hokies in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. This year, they're a three-touchdown underdog. The line may be generous.

Needless to say, things are not going well at all for the Pirates down in Greenville. I made the connection earlier, but it bears repeating here that there are some major similarities between what is happening in Greenville now and what happened to Virginia Tech basketball before Buzz. That is, while catering toward a minority of influential boosters who had inflated opinions on the level a program should be playing, both shockingly fired a coach who most outsiders would immediately argue had the program playing above its means. Their replacements came in and quickly proved that they were completely in over their heads. Their remaining talent alone allowed one early major upset (VT over #8 Ok St, ECU over NCSU) but eventually reality sunk in and the losses started pouting in. And even worse, recruiting bottomed out to the point where the depth on each allowed unbelievable mismatches all over the field or court.

The problem in ECU is that, at least for now, there is no Whit Babcock to come in and rescue them from the doldrums. Their current AD seems to be in there for the long haul, and even if that does happen, they're still in a spot where they're only playing in the AAC, where they will have trouble bringing in legitimate up and coming coaches, having to settle for coordinators who would like a chance to prove themselves at a lower school before jumping back up to the Power 5. Unfortunately, with the direction they're taking, they probably won't even get their pick of the litter there, as any rebuild would likely take far longer than those coordinators would be willing to wait.

The double edged sword here for us is that their program's fall could impact us in a variety of ways. First, if they are this truly awful for a while, whatever little prestige was there to begin with will vanish and wins will be forgotten. Some (myself included) would say this was always the case, so to have them as a sure win through the duration might not be the worst thing. However, depending on how far they fall, they could represent a legitimate anchor to our Strength of Schedule in the coming years, which might be problematic should we find our way into the playoff discussion. With that said, there should be enough tough matchups coming up to offset.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

It might not be going well for them, but look how gorgeous that sky is!

orange and maroon busting through a sea of purple.

Can't wait.

I live within an hour of Greenville...the ship has already sunk, pirate fans are in the water. I guess they can all look forward to UNC basketball, seriously it's what they do!

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

Looking forward to UNC basketball seems to be a theme down there, based on the attendance at Kenan Stadium the past two weeks against P5 opponents, one of which was a conference game against a ranked team led by the reigning Heisman winner.

Not that this is new, it's been this way forever. It's just funny to me that the same UNC fans who were trying to convince the world that they do care about football the past two years couldn't care less this season.

My Family lives down there, they are all ECU pirates. Kinda feel for them, they should never have fired Ruffin McNeil.

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

I am not worried about their effect on our strength of schedule. We have enough quality games in our ACC schedule and our P5 scheduled opponents that even a winless ECU shouldn't bring us down if the players do their jobs and win the games.

I think Scottie could be a decent coach, but their AD Jeff Compher is awful. It was pretty much his decision to fire Ruff, and he's done nothing for practically all other sports except baseball. If they can replace him I think they could turn things around.

But I hate ECU so I hope they keep him.

Word around here is the AD is probably on the way out. Maybe by New Year's.

Still terrified of this game. It would be just like ECU to turn it all around on Saturday... and do it on the back of some 12th string walk-on who even nobody on his own team knows.

Leonard. Duh.

Word around here

Leonard are you in G-Vegas?

I'm in the Triad, but Leonard Inc. has a big client who is a heavy hitter in the Pirate donor circle. I don't know how much he actually knows, but he's a really, really good guesser most of the time with all things ECU.

Leonard. Duh.

Here's hoping we get the "trash time" we were hoping for and didn't get against Delaware. I'd like to see the 2's get a little more work.

In Bud we trust

Watching the highlights from their game against WVU... maaaaaan, their secondary looked fucking terrible.

Hopefully this game it what we need to get the green receievers some confidence.

Man, JMU sure does have a nice new stadium with a great sky backdrop! Goes well with the purple and gold theme.

Those maroon and orange shades in the sky really do improve the place.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

Its like Hokie Nation is invading their stadium from the sky

how appropriate

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Anyone know how much longer we have them scheduled. I do not understand why we have constantly have them scheduled. It would be nice to play other teams in their spot. Spice it up a bit like in the early 2000's.

What's
Important
Now

Side note. Our 2019 home schedule is a straight up embarrassment.

I'm hoping we can keep Wake to zero points...again.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

but win this time

But our 2020 schedule will be a bitch!

Every season through 2025, save 2021.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Dwight Vick said on twitter a couple weeks ago that he heard they were looking to get out of that deal.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

That would be AWESOME!

Always legs for this girl!

Where is Lawson?!

They're on the schedule until 2025.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

Yaaaasssssss!

Love that this gif is going to get a ton of use around here...

I see some of the similarities you're trying to make with the VT basketball situation, but I think the underlying reasons behind firing Ruffin & firing Greenberg were fundamentally different.

With Ruffin, it was one disappointing season after a string of 3 good to great seasons that got him fired.

With Greenberg, it was a combination of underachieving with promising talent but also a reputation inside the athletic department as being hard to work with - maybe some of that is spin after the fact, but if you're underperforming AND alienating your co-workers, that's a bad combination (remember, Johnson had already accepted an assistant job at Clemson before Greenberg was fired). And finally, I'll say this as someone who saw all of our tournament misses under Greenberg up close as a student season-ticker holder... while I understood his frustrations, his responses to being left out always left a bad taste in my mouth. The fact that he had good teams who then bombed in the NIT didn't help. I have to think lots of those things combined contributed to Greenberg's dismissal.

And as far as Ruffin's and Greenberg's replacements though, I don't think it's all that fair to compare. Scottie Montgomery was lauded as an instrumental piece in Duke's offensive scheme, and was seen in the profession as and up-and-comer. James Johnson, on the other hand, while considered to be a solid recruiter was also thought to be a budget hire and his biggest positive was that he was one of the few who could prevent a full-scale talent drain from Blacksburg.

I see this less of "inflated expectations" for VT, but more of a relationship that grew frayed. ECU though, definitely needs a reality check when the AD is saying things like this:

"At one point a member of our interview team said, 'We're looking for Superman.' I guess that's about right. We are," Compher said Monday during a press conferece to introduce Montgomery. "We are looking for Superman. But we are because football matters at ECU."

Greenberg was more successful than Ruff

Ruff did manage to beat us twice in a row. During our down years, of course, but still pretty successful.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

Yeah, but Greenberg beat 3 teams ranked #1 in the country including a week where he beat both the #5 and #1 teams within a couple days of each other. Ignoring the NCAA bid and countless NIT entries and numerous first round byes in the ACC Tournament, that alone is something Ruff can't come close to matching.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Why do I have this feeling of impending doom about this weekend?

Where is Lawson?!

Ouch! She goes face first into that tree/pole.

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

Years of close games and/or losses that shouldn't have been. Haven't quite gotten over it yet. I know, because I feel the same.

Speaking of sunken ships, there were 9 people in attendance at Bronco Mendenhall's coaching show last night.

nine.

How many of those were his wife and kids?

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

I'm guessing they didn't have enough Kool-Aid.

Just the wives

Current state of the ECU football program.

via GIPHY

Here's what he's running from.

When and I do mean when we are in the playoff discussion. I have a feeling that we will chime in at #3 or #4 due to scheduling.

Hokie Love!

I live in Greenville and root for the Pirates, but not against the Hokies or W&M. Going to all the games and being around diehard Pirate fans, it seems the AD is enemy #1. Ruffin McNeil was always nice when I met him and the majority wish he was still here. Montgomery is in a tough spot, but hasn't helped himself recently, seems to throw others under the bus.

Spenge the Man. Go Hokies!

How do you feel about the DC change?

I think the Hokies win easily this weekend, been hearing there is a lot of finger pointing going on. Margin of victory similar to last week, but ECU will get on the board, 34-10 or something similar.

Spenge the Man. Go Hokies!

That's what I'm thinking. Closer than we'd like but still comfortable, just like last week. We're keeping our cards close to the vest until Clemson.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

makes betting on the games really tough. I know we should be able to hang another 50+ on ECU, but not sure that's a goal for Fuente&Co.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Yeah, it really just depends on what we want to do. Obviously we don't want to look inept like last week, even Fuente looked visibly annoyed with that, but we also don't want to beat them in as vanilla a way as possible. Who knows, maybe we break it open early like WVU did and this week we get to see the second string, but I'm not holding my breath.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I think you mean we DO want to beat them in a vanilla way, right?

As vanilla as we can get away with, I suppose

This is absolutely NOT an attack, however I can completely tell by the tone of the forum topic that Alum07 is utterly enjoying it (it's ok, I am too).

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

I have no sympathy for ECU. Let 'em burn.