Pinkney wants to leave his mark|Quarterback a leader for Pirates

Published 3:03 pm Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sports Editor

GREENVILLE — Patrick Pinkney has an easy smile and an unflappable quality about him. That holds true both on and off the playing field. It’s part of what makes the East Carolina quarterback so likable, and so good.
“He’s very poised and he’s very calm,” ECU coach Skip Holtz said. “I don’t think his highs are real high and I don’t think his lows are real low. That’s probably one of the best things you can have as a quarterback. That keeps him level-headed play after play.”
That quality helped Pinkney lead the Pirates to a Conference USA championship last year. The 6-0, 205-pound sixth-year senior, who clicked on 223 of 363 (61.4 percent) attempts for 2,675 yards and 13 TD tosses in 2008, wants to go out on an even brighter note this year.
“I just want to be a winner at the end of the year,” Pinkney said with his customary big smile. “I want to be on the team that won back-to-back championships.
“When my career is over, I want my teammates to be able to tell me that they enjoyed playing with me and that I was a great leader. That would mean a lot to me.”
Pinkney has already left his mark with the Pirates. He has played in 28 games, starting 15 of them.
The strong-armed QB has completed 344 passes (sixth best in school history) out of 563 attempts (61.1 percent) for 4,033 yards (fifth best all-time) in his career. Pinkney has thrown 24 touchdown passes and has been picked off 11 times.
Thanks to being granted a sixth year of eligibility, Pinkney will be able to add to those totals this year.
“That was very important to me,” said Pinkney, who missed the 2005 season because of shoulder problems. “I feel like everybody wants to play college football. Everybody looks forward to Saturday. Everybody in the country is watching college football.
“With all the TV games that we have this year, we have a great opportunity to showcase our talent and prove to the world that we can play with the big guys.”
Pinkney, who holds a bachelor’s degree in health fitness, is ready for the season to start. The Pirates kick off the 2005 season Sept. 5 at home against Appalachian State.
“I’m very excited,” Pinkney said. “With the leadership that we have and the experience, that’s big for us. For us seniors, we want to take it to another level.
“We want to believe that, each and every game, we can win. If we have that determination and follow the plan, we’ll be successful.”
Holtz knows he has the right guy at quarterback to make that happen.
“When you look at a guy like Patrick Pinkney, it’s not only the confidence we as coaches have, but having the experience back, having the decision-making ability back and a guy that’s been in that arena and been in that atmosphere, so you know how he’s going to react,” Holtz said. “For the players, I think that’s a huge vote of confidence.
“They know the type of competitor he is; they know the type of job that he’s done.”
Pinkney did a solid job last year, but he has strived to become even better this year. He spent the off-season working on his game, and his body, to get better.
“(I worked on) fundamentals,” Pinkney said. “You’re never too old to work on your fundamentals. I gained 10 pounds so I can take more hits, (and I) have more velocity on my throws. I think that’s going to help me this year.”
Pinkney should have a nice group of receivers to throw to this year, including Jamar Bryant, who was recently reinstated to the team after being suspended.
Pinkney said he’s comfortable with all his targets.
“It shouldn’t matter (who’s on the field),” Pinkney said. “That’s why we practice. To me, I feel like I have to take my game to another level just because it’s my sixth year here. I’ve been in the offense for a long time.
“I have to realize that I have to teach them and be like a coach on the field. I feel like if I can add that aspect to my game, that will make our offense better.”
Pinkney certainly plans to make the most of his last season with the Pirates.
“This is where I want to be,” Pinkney said. “I had a great opportunity to play the game of football and I’m going to take full advantage of it.”