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ECU football gives itself midterm exam, hopes to improve for second half of their season

Pirates next play at Houston Saturday at 4 PM
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - College midterm exams are a good way to test your knowledge to make sure you are up to the standard. For ECU football, having a bye at the midpoint of the season allowed for a self examination before they head into the second half of their schedule.

“Really like a lot of the things we did defensively. I think we are playing really fast, I think we are playing with great physicality, I think we are doing a great job turning the ball over,” says ECU head football coach Mike Houston, “Negatives, I think you know too many big plays.”

“Get in the call, know your responsibility, and have the correct alignment,” says ECU linebacker Myles Berry, “Doing your job, when you do your job, explosive plays can’t happen.”

The Pirates offense is showing flashes of brilliance but also periods being sluggishness.

“Execution piece is what we looked at where the issues are when we had issues,” says Houston, “When we execute well we put up big numbers and there’s been some games we struggled.”

“Just everybody has got a job to do. If one person messes up, if I make a wrong read or something, it could affect the whole play,” says ECU wide receiver Tyler Snead, “So just being on the same page.”

The bullseye during the stagnant times is always on Holton Ahlers. The quarterback’s play reflects what coach is saying. Through 6 games he is 121-202 passing for 1,485 yards. He’s thrown 8 touchdowns to 6 interceptions. Both his passing percentage and touchdown to interception ratio are down from last season.

“People criticize him for doing too much, people criticize him for not doing enough,” says Houston, “He needs to quit worrying about what people say. Quit worrying about the media, quit worrying about social media, quit worrying about what the fans say. He needs to focus on doing his job. That’s it.”

Ahlers has a total 22 yards rushing with three scores, 4 fumbles one lost.

“Play within the offense, he’s heard us,” says Houston, “He is a good runner. When there’s opportunities to run, he needs to run.”

Tyler Snead has been contained on returns so far. 20-yards per kickoff return and about 7-yards per punt return.

“More the other 10 guys than the returner,” Houston says, “Because I do think we have a returner who is very capable and has a chance to make some big plays.”

ECU next plays at Houston on Saturday at 4 PM.

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