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ECU's goal: Big result in short week


East Carolina's Anthony Watley sheds a William & Mary tackle attempt to score a touchdown Sept. 21 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Watley also scored last Saturday in a win at Old Dominion.


The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Instead of a normal Friday walk-through, East Carolina's football team will hold a Wednesday jog-through.

Everything is a little different this week for ECU and Temple, who meet at 8 p.m. Thursday night at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for a nationally televised ESPN game. It is the Owls' first American Athletic Conference game of the season and another shot for ECU (3-2, 0-1 AAC) to gain its initial league win under first-year coach Mike Houston.

"There will be scout teams out there Wednesday, which we usually don't have on Fridays," Houston said. "We still don't want them to be out there for an extended amount of time. With a compressed week and a couple different things going on, you still have to make sure that you are the freshest team on Thursday night.

"That, and being prepared, are the most important things. ... What you have to do has to be high-quality. This week is about quality over quantity, as far a getting our reps together."

ECU's only American game this year was a 42-10 loss at Navy on Sept. 14, which was followed by two straight victories by the Pirates for a winning record after five games.

Sunday practices for ECU are usually heavy on special teams and fundamentals. Houston said that was modified for the most recent Sunday, one day after the Pirates rode defense, special teams and a second touchdown in as many weeks by tight end Anthony Watley for a 24-21 victory at Old Dominion, to be "all Temple."

Houston said after Tuesday's practice he has been pleased with his team's progression during abnormal preparation. The Pirates are 20-25 in non-Saturday games since 2000, including 4-4 in in their last eight Thursday outings.

"Over the years, you get into such a routine and any time you get out of that routine, sometimes it can throw a little monkey wrench in it, but I think our kids have been pretty focused," Houston said. "(Monday's) practice was pretty sharp in a shells practice. We were in helmets today, and again I think it was pretty sharp. ... They have been pretty locked in so far this week."

The Owls (3-1) have won five straight in the series against ECU, which is an 11.5-point underdog for Thursday and has special black jerseys planned for the night game.

Both teams are coming off wins last Saturday, which can help with momentum and focus during a short week. Pirate leading receiver Blake Proehl added that having the game in Greenville also should be used to the Pirates' advantage.

"Being able to stay here and not go up there is a real advantage for us and something that we need," he said.

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


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