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Holtz looking for defensive improvement

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — While the East Carolina offense has been putting up staggering numbers, averaging 46.2 points in its last five Conference USA games, the same can’t be said for the Pirate defense.
ECU head coach Skip Holtz said his Pirates (6-4, 5-1) will have to buckle down as they prepare to face Marshall (1-8, 1-4) on Saturday.
ECU is allowing 31.9 points and 442.4 total yards of offense, including 302.1 passing, per game.
Memphis finished with 493 yards of total offense, including 416 through the air — the eighth-most ever against an ECU defense, in a 56-20 ECU win last Saturday.
Earlier this season, UTEP exploited the Pirate secondary for 456 passing yards, tying for the third most ever against ECU.
Though Memphis hung up 40 points and nearly 500 yards of offense, Holtz said it was a few plays here and there that made the difference. The ECU coach said his team has to eliminate giving up the big play.
Holtz believes the mistakes the Pirates are making defensively are correctable.
"We have been rolling a lot of players into different positions,” Holtz said. “What is frustrating right now is some of the mistakes that we are making. I understand that we struggled early in the year because of inexperience, but what is starting to bother me now is that it is not a talent issue, but an issue of guys doing the fundamental things the right way.
Holtz met with the defensive unit Sunday night and told the players he’s going to play those 11 who will play within the system.