Injuries change Pirates’ offense

Published 7:09 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — East Carolina spent most of its spring and summer practice sessions implementing a two-tailback offense in an attempt to get its best athletes on the field.
The Pirates’ running back corps, though inexperienced, was one of the deepest and strongest units when ECU opened preseason camp on Aug. 1.
But injuries have put the Pirates’ plans on hold.
On Monday, ECU head coach Skip Holtz officially announced that Dominique Lindsay — a 5’11”, 210-pound senior, who entered fall camp as the projected starter — would miss the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury two weeks ago. Holtz also announced that junior transfer J.R. Rogers, the fastest guy on the Pirates’ roster, would be doubtful for Saturday’s season opener versus Virginia Tech.
The string of injuries to the tailbacks, means that the Pirates will likely go to a three wide receiver look. And that means, East Carolina will lean on the experience of receivers Jamar Bryant, Dwayne Harris and T.J. Lee.
The depleted Pirates backfield will be left with just three guys for the season opener.
Brandon Simmons, Jonathan Williams and Norman Whitley, the only three backs who are expected to see action this weekend, have combined for a total of 81 carries in their careers.
Simmons, a 6’1”, 223-pound bruiser, has the majority of those carries, logging 53 touches fo 116 yards and five touchdowns in his Pirates’ career.
Williams, a former J.H. Rose standout, carried the ball 22 times for 153 yards and a touchdown in 2007, while Whitley has toted the ball just six times in his career for 44 yards.
Holtz said Monday, that a couple of the keys to beating the Hokies Saturday will be staying healthy and how well the Pirates’ tailbacks handle the bright lights of a nationally televised game.