ECU looking to get back on track after two straight losses

Published 3:17 am Tuesday, October 7, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — After getting off to a 3-0 start and then suffering back-to-back losses to two sub-.500 teams, N.C. State and Houston, East Carolina coach Skip Holtz is ready to start the season anew as his team comes off its first bye week of the season.
One of Holtz’s main concerns at this point in the season is the team’s third down conversion ratio. The Pirates have converted just 36 percent of their third down attempts this season.
Holtz also said that his team needs to find someone to step up and replace Chris Johnson as an explosive threat.
Holtz wants to see improvement from his defense as well.
He said that stopping the opponent on first down is one concern.
He said the Pirates also spent time during the bye week trying to shore up their sloppy pass defense, which allowed 399 passing yards to Houston.
Holtz said that it’s been a very emotional first month of the season, and he’s hoping that last Saturday’s open date can help East Carolina get back on track.
“This open date was very needed,” the fourth-year head coach said. “It has been a very emotional September, obviously, with all the highs and lows that we’ve been through as a program. I think it was great to give these players, coaches and everybody an opportunity to get away and get their feet up under them a little bit. From a mental standpoint as well as a physical standpoint, it gave everybody the opportunity to kind of recharge their batteries.