Tony Petersen Outlines the Keys to Success This Sunday at UConn

Mark Lindsay, Publisher
Pirate Illustrated
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When ECU takes on Connecticut this Sunday at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, the Pirates hope to duplicate last year's 41-3 win in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Currently the Pirates are on a long skid of losses since that game and have only won three of their last fifteen contests overall.

Changing the equation will require the right combination of execution and offensive creativity. Some consistency at the quarterback position would also prove beneficial for the Pirates.

"It's always important. We want to get as much consistency as you can. Hopefully moving forward we be pretty consistent there, but injuries and quarterback play sometimes dictate that and you've got to do what you've got to do but you've love to have a lot more consistency at that position," said ECU offensive coordinator Tony Petersen.

With Thomas Sirk back in the lineup, that will give ECU a two-pronged dynamic which is essential in a one running back style offense. Petersen likes what he is seeing from the Duke transfer coming into Sunday's game against the Huskies.

"He looked good last week we just felt like it wasn't quite a situation where he was quite ready where we wanted to put him in. He had a good practice last week and looked good tonight," was Petersen's description of Sirk's work coming into game four.

It is becoming apparent that having Sirk in the game gives ECU more flexibility in terms of the offensive scheme.

"It changes our game plan a little bit and it changes how the defense plays us a lot," Petersen told PI, "Him being someone who can throw the ball very well, they've now got to cover everything so it changes us a little bit and changes them a lot. It changes the dynamics big time."

"A running, athletic quarterback who can run the ball helps everybody. It helps him, it helps the running backs, it helps the wide receivers because of the coverages you're getting. If you can have a quarterback who is athletic, big, can run the football and also throw it well it helps everything. That's the ultimate to have," said Petersen.

Sirk tells that ECU will face a team that is a lot like the Virginia Tech team the Pirates just faced and he has confidence that ECU is close to turning the corner offensively.

"They're very similar to Virginia Tech on defense in a lot of ways. They've got a bunch of guys who will come out and play hard. We have to stick to the game plan and execute things," said Sirk, "We saw how good we can be in the first series against Virginia Tech and we just have to be consistent and maintain that through four quarters of a game."

With Randy Edsall back at the helm as head coach at Connecticut replacing Bob Diaco, there will be some similarities and changes as Petersen outlined this week.

"It's a different offensive coordinator but they're still basing out of a three-man front (on defense). They played a little bit different as far as formations but it looks pretty similar as far as the defense goes."

With three games under their belt, there are a few things that Petersen has learned offensively.

"We've got to play more consistent. We still turn the ball over too. We have two freshman running backs turn it over last week, we had one pick. We can't do that. We've got to take care of the ball. We've got to be able to run the ball better," Petersen told PI, "We're going into conference play which won't be as difficult up front as it was these last couple of weeks and we should do better there, but we've got to be able to run the ball and take care of the ball."

Sunday's game could prove to be the biggest barometer of things to come for the Pirates in a season that has been top heavy with quality opponents.

Connecticut hosts ECU this Sunday at 12 noon in the Pirates' fourth game of the season. The game will be televised on ESPNU.


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