The Pirates’ new king of the Kass-le

Published 5:49 am Tuesday, October 21, 2008

By Staff
Commentary by STEVE FRANKLIN
After Saturday’s rout of Memphis, in which backup quarterback Rob Kass relieved ineffective starter Patrick Pinkney and led ECU to a second half comeback victory with a pair of touchdown passes, East Carolina coach Skip Holtz said that the Pirates will likely continue to platoon the two quarterbacks.
Sorry coach, you’re making a big mistake.
The old adage goes, “If you’ve got two quarterbacks, you’ve really got none.”
In my opinion, Pinkney’s had his chance. Now let’s see what Kass can do.
Pinkney was supposed to be that dual-threat quarterback that could beat you with his arm or his legs. After looking impressive in the first three games of the season, he’s done a complete 180-degree turn. Gone from Heisman hopeful to hopeful starter.
The senior signal caller hasn’t thrown the ball well at all over the last four ballgames. He’s missing wide-open receivers, making wrong reads and getting passes batted down all over the field.
After completing better than 80 percent of his passes in the first two weeks to lead ECU to wins over No. 17 Virginia Tech and No. 8 West Virginia, Pinkney has completed just 50 percent of his passes (44-of-88 attempts) in the last four contests.
And he rarely pulls it down and runs anymore, which is probably his best asset.
He’s only run for 60 yards on 57 attempts, and his longest jaunt was just 14 yards.
While Kass has been far from perfect in his outings, he does seem to open up the offense a little more.
He’s only completed 15-of-his 28 pass attempts, but the coaches seem to have more faith in the strong-armed junior’s passing ability.
They’re not afraid to let Kass go deep. In his limited action, he’s taken far more shots down the field than Pinkney did in his 170 pass attempts.
And if you ask me, the threat of Kass alone appears to be opening up room for the running backs.
Defenses know that Kass wants to go deep. Therefore, the safeties and linebackers aren’t creeping up trying to stuff the run. The opposing defenses are on their toes with Kass in the game.
And I’m not the only one who feels this way.
To me, it’s no coincidence that the running backs had their best performance of the season with Kass on the field. Less defenders focusing on the run equals more open space for the running backs.
With Pinkney, the Pirates had to dink and dunk their way down the field. With Kass, the threat of the big pass play is always there.
We all know, the Pirates need a few more big plays from their offense. So, give the guy with the golden arm the ball and let it fly. It worked against Memphis didn’t it? You scored a season-high in points, didn’t you?
East Carolina’s not going to win Conference USA with defense alone. Not with the high-powered offenses of Tulsa, Houston and Rice out west. The only chance the Pirates have of winning Conference USA is to score points. And lots of them. Kass gives them that chance.