ECU football has been preparing for weeks to face Navy, have chance to start a winning streak on Saturday

ECU at Navy Saturday at Noon
ECU vs Navy Prep
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 10:08 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A lot of firsts for ECU football this week as they got their first road win, first conference win and first win against an FBS opponent at Florida Atlantic last weekend.

The Pirates hoping that ignites a strong finish to the season. They face Navy on Saturday at noon. Always a tough test.

“They are a little bit different than they have been in the past. New head coach, new offensive coordinator,” says ECU Head Coach Mike Houston, “Yeah you still see some triple option, you see some gun stuff, you see quarterback counter, you see power read.”

It is a lot to prepare for. ECU has traditionally struggled against Navy just 2 and 8 all time.

“We have faced teams like this in the past when they can do all of it well,” says Houston, “It’s really challenging for your defensive players to play one thing one series or one snap and play a little bit different the next snap.”

Each of the past two seasons the game has been decided by a field goal. Extra preparation was taken to be ready for the Midshipmen’s tricky offense.

“The last month or so we have been working on the Navy game plan on Sundays,” says Houston.

“We have some, some clues on what we might see coming into this game,” says ECU linebacker Teylor Jackson.

“Back in high school we played a school called Plantation high school back my way,” says ECU cornerback Antoine Jackson, “They had a similar offense. It is confusing. You have got to be on your p’s and q’s and really lock in this week.”

The biggest thing the players notice from Navy is the physicality in all phases. they say the coaching staff cranks it up in practice for Navy week.

“We ramp,” says Teylor, “We are always physical in practice but this week is more physicality than ever really.”

“I think it is everybody really. Guys on the scout team included. They got to do their job to make sure we get the best look for the game on Saturday,” says ECU offensive lineman Parker Moorer, “Offensively and defensively they do things that are difficult for teams to stop. That’s why they are a really good opponent.”

The other piece ECU faces is limited possessions like they saw in the Tulane game. They know the keys surround controlling the ball as best they can.

“We can’t give any of our possessions away. So we got to do a really great job with ball security and decision-making,” says Houston, “We got to do a great job on third down. We are going to need to drive the football and be able to convert. Then we are going to have to maximize when we get down in the red zone.”