Posted: 10:09 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013
When the USS Hokies pulls into port in Greenville, they will be greeted by rambunctious crowd of purple and black screaming, "YOU ARE GONG TO WALK THE PLANK, ARGH!" The team will think they have stepped into a Twilight Zone, where suddenly ESPN has lost control of the horizon and the screen begins to spin. Then Rod Serling's ominous voice will come on, warning of forbearance for the Hokies about to step on the field in what should be a loud, rowdy and perhaps alcohol-fueled ECU crowd.
Humor aside, playing the Pirates is seriously no joke. They have always given the Hokies fits over the years since that fateful day in Charlotte when Beamerball died. Yeah, that game, where somebody not in Hokies' uniform exploded around the edge, blocked the punt, scooped up the football and raced for an easy touchdown. That was an awful afternoon.
Since then, the Pirates have had swagger like Davy Jones (the pirate, not the Monkee) in his heyday, sucking down the Hokies to their level of playing, only to see the Hokies emerging from their Locker, bloodied, but victorious with all the maidens and treasure from the Pirates' plunders.
I have to think that all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were actually stories based on the good guy (the Hokies) going into naval battles against the bad guy (Pirates), but I cannot be certain, and I think a certain Hollywood actor/producer would hotly contest that.
Regardless of the backstory, the lunchpail defense of Bud Foster will be tested, that much is certain. The defensive line is going to have to beat their blocks and make life mighty uncomfortable for the Pirates' quarterback. The secondary, as active as they have been in two games, should be feasting on opportunities for interceptions and some lumber-laying smack-down on the unfortunate souls wearing crossbones. It's the kind of game that will test Foster's defensive scheme, which has evolved into a very aggressive, hawkish defense that thrives on creating havoc and forcing turnovers.
Meanwhile, Admiral Frank Beamer and his lieutenants are going to have to rely on a very methodical approach to wear down the Pirates' defense with potshots, grapeshots, and good, old-fashioned hand-to-hand combat. The offensive line should be dominant in this game, smacking aside the Pirates' defensive linemen and paving the way for the hammer, Trey Edmunds, and his buddies, who just love to make tacklers look silly grasping thin air. Logan Thomas needs to manage the game effectively and make smart decisions. It also means the wide receivers have to get separation, block hard on running plays and hang onto the football like they did against Western Carolina.
Finally, forget about bringing back Beamerball. It's time for special teams to play with intelligence and pick their, ahem, poison against the Pirates. It means being smart with what to do when the ball is in the air, and if waving off the ball, GET THE HECK OUT OF THE WAY! If somebody in maroon and orange actually coasts into the Pirates' end zone for a touchdown on kickoff or punt, BONUS! In other words, PLAY SMART! The Pirates will get after ya, and plunder your soul! Argh!