ECU working to fix things on a short week to stop a 2-game slide when they face USF

ECU prepares for primetime Thursday night football game
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 9:23 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - after two straight tough road losses ecu returns home tomorrow night for a national broadcast game against south florida.

Our Eric Gullickson caught up with the pirates who hope to have fixed some things on a short week.

“We had a great opportunity there with about a minute 30 and two timeouts, how to drive going, had a very makeable third down. Just a better decision right there because we had a play and didn’t make it and ended up having to put it away,” says ECU head football Mike Houston.

ECU ranks 129th out 130 schools in the country on 3rd down percentage this fall.

“It starts with first down but but when you do get to those third downs we have to be better,” says ECU quarterback Holton Ahlers, “I mean everyone knows our third down percentage right now are not good. We just got a start to work on that and continue to execute I mean we got the guys to go out there and do it we just need to do it.”

For the 2nd week in a row the Pirates had the ball, road game on the line, late 4th quarter a shot to win the game.

“We practice two minute every week,” says ECU offensive coordinator Donnie Kirkpatrick, “I tell you what we are really good at it out there in practice. We go against our defense it’s a really competitive drill. The problem is you can never re-create the same situation.”

The defense has played much better. They shutout Houston in the 2nd half Saturday. They shut down UCF most of the night the week before.

“Just came down to one play here or there,” says ECU defensive coordinator Blake Harrell, “But it’s really a series of plays. I think we talked about that at the UCF game. Just throughout the ball game what can we do to get better.”

“The locker room’s gotten a lot tighter. You know we don’t wanna let each other down,” says ECU linebacker Bruce Bivens, “And we just we wanna win.”

One of those parts is the return of Gerard Stringer from an Achilles injury.

“Rehabbing like three times a day trying to get my Achilles right,” says ECU defensive back Gerard Stringer, “I still feel it a little bit, but I still work through it.”

Like Stringer’s Achilles, the Pirates just have to work through it now.

“Two tough ones in a row right now that feel like you probably should’ve gotten,” says Houston.

“You got to find a way to win,” says Harrell, “If you are not doing that, you have to keep going back and studying, improving and working your tail off to get that done.”

ECU is 10 point favorites as of 6 PM Wednesday night. ECU and USF kick off at 7:30 PM at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Thursday night.

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