Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hide The Women And Goalposts -- The Improved ECU Pirates Are Comin' To Town

Last year's win over ECU brought about the kind of bewildered joy that occurs rarely, especially over these last few years. I can't really explain it, but you probably know what I mean--when the team treats you to a huge pleasant surprise of a performance, something you never saw coming. Watching it unfold, I was transformed into the guy from those Bud Light commercials. Dude! Dude? Duuuuuuude. The high point of the season for me.

Although I'd expected the worst heading into that one, there were some signs of vulnerability in the Pirates; this was a team with a large positive turnover margin that obscured its poor underlying performance.

I'll have to find another reason for optimism this time around, because the 2008 Pirates are no such frauds; they out-gained and out-played both Virginia Tech and West Virginia, and those performances speak for themselves.

                   2007            2008

Yds/RushAtt 4.9 3.9 3.2 3.3
Yds/PassAtt 6.7 7.2 8.3 5.7
Yds/Play 5.7 5.7 5.4 4.3
(ECU's 2007 SOS: 76. Their '08 SOS: 22. I may delve deeper later this week, but for now a rough mental adjustment of the above numbers based on SOS will have to do.)

Chris Johnson has been as irreplaceable as everyone figured he would be, but the passing game has picked up the slack thanks to Patrick Pinkney's excellent early-season play:

              Comp    Att     Yds    TD   INT   Comp%   Yds/Att   Rating
Pinkney '07 121 200 1358 11 4 60.5 6.8 131.69
Pinkney '08 63 83 707 4 1 75.9 8.5 160.94

Can our Cash-less defensive line put on the pressure necessary to cut down on Pinkney's efficiency? I'm gonna go with no.