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2003 PREVIEW: East Carolina Pirates

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After several up and down years and a few major disappointments, had to make a change. Considering the success the program had under Steve Logan, was last season really that bad? Yup. came very close to only winning one game last year. Not only did the Pirates lose, they weren't even close in their losses after giving Duke and tough games early. Even so, the chance for a turnaround season is there if they get improvement from the passing game and a stronger defensive performance. Under new head coach , that could happen.

Team Information
Head coach:
1st year
Returning O Lettermen: 26
Returning D Lettermen: 21
Returning ST Lettermen: 2
Ten Best Players
1. OT , Sr.
2. LB , Soph.
3. RB , Sr.
4. C , Sr.
5. OG , Jr.
6. LB Josh Chisolm, Soph.
7. QB , Jr.
8. NG , Sr.
9. SS , Sr.
10. TE , Jr.
2003 Schedule
9/1 at
9/6
9/13 at Miami
9/20 at
9/30
10/11
10/18 at
10/25
11/1 at
11/8
11/22 at
11/29 Southern Miss
Sometimes a regime change can bring in a new attitude and new life into an already solid program, and that's exactly what new Thompson might bring to the table. Logan was able to bring in some sensational Conference USA talent, but he rarely got them to play up to their potential. Thompson is a top defensive coach who could instantly turn around the attitude of a soft defensive team. Southern Miss and TCU have shown how a program can succeed in the league with a killer D. The former Florida coach should be the guy to get ECU to that level. The Schedule: It's not all that bad, but the Pirates have to face four bowl teams to start the season including tough battles against and Miami. North Carolina comes to Greenville. In league play, Southern Miss, and play in Dowdy-Ficklen, but the Pirates have go to and . Missing TCU is a huge help to the turnaround hopes. Best Offensive Player: Senior OT . Rimpf has faced some of the best defensive ends in college football over the past few years and he more than held his own. He should be the league's premier tackle. Best Defensive Player: Sophomore LB . He's only 217 pounds, but he has a knack for always being in on every play and always sticks his nose into the action. With his speed, he has the sideline to sideline ability to be a top producer in Thompson's defense. Key player to a successful season: QB . Troth has a ton of talent, but he has to tune his howitzer of an arm after throwing 20 interceptions completing only 49% of his passes. If he comes around, has a sensational weapon. The season will be a success if: gets to a bowl game. The only guaranteed loss will be to Miami. There's no reason to think that with a little bit of improvement, the Pirates should be able to hang with everyone else on their schedule. Seven wins would get them to the post-season, and it's not unrealistic to think it could happen. Key game: Sept. 1 at . Opening up the season with a big league road game gives the new coaching staff an opportunity to make a mark right off the bat. After last year, a road win would work wonders. 2002 Fun Stats:
  • Turnovers: 41 - Opponents 21
  • Second quarter scoring: Opponents 119 - 67
  • Penalties: Opponents 84 for 804 yards - 56 for 446
    2003 Recruiting Class
    Star of the Class
    Juwon Crowell WR 6-3 190 Winston-Salem, N.C. Carver HS
    Caught 48 passes for 976 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2002 ... All-Piedmont Triad 3-A Conference ... Led Yellow Jackets to 3-A state championship ... Brother of Detroit Lions WR Germaine Crowell and UVA linebacker .

    Virgil Black OL 6-4 320 Lexington, N.C. Lexington HS
    Thomas Bradley QB 5-11 180 Ft. Pierce, Fla. Ft. Pierce Westwood HS
    Jeff Bumgarner OL 6-4 280 Orlando, Fla. Olympia HS
    Kyle Chase DB 5-10 190 Atlanta, Ga. Cedar Grove HS
    Wendell Chavis DE 6-4 240 Ahoskie, N.C. Hertford County HS
    Josh Coffman TE 6-6 240 Palmetto, Fla. Palmetto HS
    Kevin Fain RB 5-11 215 Palm Bay, Fla. Scottsdale [Ariz.] CC
    Mike Horner DE 6-4 250 Williamston, N.C. Williamson HS
    WR 6-3 170 Clinton, N.C. Clinton HS
    Erode Jean DB 5-11 165 Ft. Pierce, Fla. Ft. Pierce Westwood HS
    DE 6-5 245 Miami, Fla. Hialeah-Miami Lakes HS
    Marc Jones TE 6-3 220 Norfolk, Va. Lake Taylor HS
    Manny Levell TE 6-3 245 Miami, Fla. Miami-Edison HS
    Pierre Parker QB 6-2 200 Wilson, N.C. Beddingfield HS
    Steven Rogers WR 6-2 175 Augusta, Ga. Evans HS
    Kasey Ross DB 6-1 190 Alachua, Fla. Gainesville HS
    Todd Springfield DL 6-3 285 Jonesboro, Ga. Love Joy HS
    Robert Tillman RB 5-11 180 Maxton, N.C. South Robeson HS
    *Potential Instant Impact Players

  • Tagged: Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Florida, Louisiana-Monroe, Tulane, East Carolina, Cincinnati, Army, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, South Florida

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