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Pirates still stinging from loss to WVU

By Staff
By PETER WILLIAMS, Staff Writer
East Carolina University head football coach Skip Holtz could find few positive things about the loss Saturday.
The fifth-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers handed Holtz one of the worst defeats he’s faced in three years as head coach. His banged-up team now has to travel to Houston Saturday to play the Cougars, the Conference USA champions last year.
The Mountaineer offense ran all over a Pirate defense that had been stingy throughout the first three games of the year. West Virginia had 599 total yards of offense, 397 of them on the ground. ECU had only allowed 258 ground yards combined in their first three games.
Holtz believes the Mountaineers were fired-up and had something to prove. Despite being undefeated, West Virginia dropped on point in the polls.
The Mountaineer quarterback hit 18 of 20 passes for 181 yards and ran for 42 yards and two touchdowns.
Holtz maintains he wants to build a top-class program in Greenville and playing West Virginia is a step in that direction.
The Pirate players had Monday off, but resume practice today. Some players will be missing against Houston because of injuries. That was a main concern for Holtz on Monday.
Defensive end Marcus Hands and tight end J.R. Kraemer are doubtful. Defensive back Darryl Reynolds, offensive tackle Willie Barton and runningback Jonathan Williams are questionable. Both Khalif Mitchell, who had an ankle injury and J.J. Milbrook, who pulled a hamstring are probable to play but may not start.
One player back in the rotation is quarterback Rob Kass. Suspended from the season opener against Virginia Tech because of drunk driving charge, Kass saw limited action Saturday against the Mountaineers. He ended up connecting on two of three passes for 11 yards. Patrick Pinkney, who started the game and racked up 406 yards against the UNC Tar Heels was held to 43 yards on 14 attempts.
Kass was third in the depth chart in the game against Southern Mississippi, but earned the second spot over Brett Clay during practice last week, Holtz said.
Pinkney and Kass have different playing styles, Holtz said. As a result, it may be that Pinkney gets the nod against some teams and Kass will get the job for other teams.
Holtz hasn’t however lost faith in Pinkney, who threw only his second interception of the year Saturday. On the plus side he’s connected on 72 of 113 passing attempts for 767 yards.
Playing two quarterbacks will “create problems for defenses as to what to prepare for,” the coach said.