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BYH, some see the glass as half empty. I say just get a smaller glass and quit complaining....

ECU prepares for all the options

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East Carolina head football coach Mike Houston looks down at his play sheet during Saturday night's 48-9 win over Gardner-Webb at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

East Carolina's defensive preparations for Navy's triple-option offense ramped up Sunday night.

On Tuesday, ECU first-year coach Mike Houston said simulating the speed the Pirates will see Saturday at Navy is difficult no matter how much time is spent on it during practice.

Making it especially difficult this week for the Pirates, who are 1-1 overall and are preparing for Houston's debut game in the American Athletic Conference, is that Navy hasn't played since a 45-7 Week 1 victory over Holy Cross.

"We went out and we practiced Sunday and I thought that it wasn't bad because our guys were seeing the scheme again after seeing it during preseason camp," Houston said. "They understood the basics of how we want to play this, but then you go and flip on the tape of them against Holy Cross and you see the speed that comes at you and the precise execution that they played with in that ball game. It's a completely different animal. That is the challenge."

Houston, whose ECU squad just beat Gardner-Webb 48-9 on Saturday night, added that multiple players will be used as the scout team quarterback in trying to mimic Midshipen QB Malcolm Perry, who was a part-time slot back for Navy in 2018.

Navy rushed for 428 yards against Holy Cross, led by starting fullback Nelson Smith and his 15 carries for 96 yards and three touchdowns. Perry was 6-of-9 passing for 103 yards, and on the ground he ran 10 times for 28 yards and a TD.

"We have a couple quarterbacks who have athleticism, but the hard thing is they are the ones playing," Houston said of the Pirates' scout team. "We have some guys who have played in the wishbone at other positions in the past, so we are using them this week. Practice is going to structured a little bit different. .... It's all hands on deck to really prepare."

Notable on the Pirates' new depth chart is that Mike Witherspoon "or" Malik Fleming are listed to start at cornerback opposite true freshman Ja'Quan McMillian, whose interception versus Gardner-Webb was East Carolina's first takeaway of the season and the first under defensive coordinator Bob Trott. Witherspoon, a senior, started Week 1 and Week 2. Fleming and McMillian are both freshmen.

On offense, either Hussein Howe or Demetrius Mauney could be the main backup running back to starter Darius Pinnix. Mauney (107) and Pinnix (134, two touchdowns) both rushed for more than 100 yards against the Bulldogs, and Howe had 9 yards on four carries.

The breakout night for ECU's offense against an overmatched opponent came one week after gaining a total of 41 rushing yards in a loss at N.C. State.

"My mindset is just do what I can for this offense," Pinnix said. "I want to do what I can so that we can put points on the board and so we can win."

Navy 12th-year coach Ken Niumatalolo stressed Monday during the AAC teleconference that the Pirates are an athletic team. Houston responded Tuesday with a unique appreciation for Navy's athleticism.

Like ECU, the Midshipmen are trying to bounce back from a three-win season last year.

"They are more athletic than he will ever let on," said Houston, who coached The Citadel in 2014 and '15, of the Navy coach. "Every service academy or military school coach I have ever seen, they talk about how much more athletic the opponents are than them. Yes, I think we have some good players and some talented guys, but he has a bunch of them too."

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

ECU

September 14, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Navy cruised to a 2-0 record in a frustrating day Saturday for East Carolina football, which lost 42-10 to the Midshipmen for ECU to drop to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the American Athletic Conference in coach Mike Houston’s first season with the Pirates.

Here are three…

East Carolina Navy Football-4

September 14, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Add quarterback Malcolm Perry prominently to the list of Navy football players to enjoy spinning, shaking, shedding and sizzling the East Carolina football defense.

In a series that began in 2006 and has been dictated by the Midshipmen and their punishing and methodical…

East Carolina Navy Football

September 14, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Among the improbable things for a disastrous day by the East Carolina football team Saturday was that Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry passed for more yards than Holton Ahlers.

Perry and a stingy Navy defense led the charge in the Midshipmen's 42-10 rout of the Pirates in the…

East Carolina Navy Football-3

September 14, 2019

Here are three Navy players to keep an eye on as East Carolina heads to Annapolis, Md., to face the Midshipmen in American Athletic Conference action:

Malcolm Perry

Any Navy team runs as good as its quarterback. Perry, a senior former running back, is far from a perfect passer but he remains as one…

Navy Football Preview

September 14, 2019

Q: What is your favorite form of social media?

A: I would say Twitter. It’s more active, everybody is on Twitter. I like Instagram, too, but I like Twitter more.

Q: Where is your favorite spot to eat at in Greenville?

A: I will say Kickback Jacks. I like Kickback Jacks. I love their spinach…

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September 14, 2019

These three questions appeared in our Pirate Gameday section to preview East Carolina versus Navy in football. 

The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network. Check back after the game for the answers:

1. Any turnovers by the Pirates? Because of time of possession, turnovers…

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September 14, 2019

Mike Houston didn't celebrate too long after his first victory as East Carolina's football coach, partly because he knew what was ahead in this week's trip trip to Navy.

ECU (1-1) and Navy (1-0) play their respective first American Athletic Conference game of the season today in a 3:30 p.m. kickoff…

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September 13, 2019

Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo said earlier this week that he wants to see more passes this year from quarterback Malcolm Perry.

East Carolina defensive coordinator Bob Trott is not putting too much stock into any new Navy mindset and is still planning to mainly see running plays Saturday when…

Navy Football

September 12, 2019

East Carolina first-year athletics director Jon Gilbert said he noticed even before kickoff last Saturday night at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium that slow concessions could be an issue that could increase as the night progressed for ECU’s first home football game of the season, so he put a priority…

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September 12, 2019

East Carolina’s football team heads north on Saturday to play Navy, which has beaten the Pirates in three straight meetings and holds a 5-1 all-time advantage in the series.

It will be the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams and coach Mike Houston’s league debut with the…

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