College Football: UNC-ECU preview
CHAPEL HILL ó East Carolina figured it had a sure thing in quarterback Patrick Pinkney. Yet as ECU prepares for a trip to No. 24 North Carolina, he has come to embody the Pirates’ early inconsistency.
The sixth-year senior has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns and has had trouble with his accuracy. It’s no coincidence that the Pirates’ offense hasn’t scored a point after halftime, a fact that puts Pinkney in the spotlight against the Tar Heels (2-0) and their aggressive defense this afternoon.
“The plays we’ve needed to make, we didn’t make,” Pinkney said. “We had a missed throw, a missed block or a dropped catch. It’s not just pressure on me. Everybody’s got to put pressure on themselves to execute on every play. That’s how you win championships: everybody doing their job.”
Pinkney would know. He directed the Pirates (1-1) to upsets of Virginia Tech and West Virginia on the way to last year’s Conference USA championship. Two years ago in Greenville, he threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns in his first start to hand Butch Davis his first loss as North Carolina’s coach.
Yet that player hasn’t shown up in 2009, even if the Pirates are trying to deflect the blame solely from Pinkney.
“Patrick can be sharper and crisper and he can throw the ball a little bit better than he has,” East Carolina coach Skip Holtz said. “It’s not just Patrick. There’s a lot of things we have to evaluate to turn and get the passing game straight. It’s not just tighten that little screw and away we go.”
Pinkney has completed 42 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Last season, he completed 61 percent with 13 TDs and seven picks.
In the opener, the Pirates ran all over Appalachian State before the Mountaineers adjusted at halftime and forced Pinkney to make plays.