“Let’s face it,” said Swofford, “with quality wins over two ACC schools – Virginia Tech and West Virginia – the Pirates would be the best team in the conference from day one.” When reminded by an aide that WVU was not yet in the ACC, Swofford said, “No matter, ARRRRRRRRGGGGG!”
According to Swofford (who was nattily clad in a Jack Sparrow Halloween costume), the Pirates are a perfect fit as head coach Skip Holtz has an ACC pedigree having once coached for Florida State as an assistant before taking the head coaching job at UConn where he went 34-23 before rejoining his father Lou Holtz at South Carolina. “He’s an ACC guy, his dad was an ACC guy,” added Swofford.
“The old man coached at N.C. State and then some little catholic school out in the Midwest before joining those ACC separationists down in that other Carolina.”
Swofford also pointed out that ECU faced two more ACC foes (NC State and Virginia) and was likely to be favored in both contests.
The key to the Pirates early success: DEFENSE.
According to the News-Observer, in a stunning 2-0 start, the ECU "D" has lowered its average point yield to 12.5 per game. The defense has:
* Checked a Virginia Tech team that had pocket-passing quarterback Sean Glennon. The performance was so thorough that it caused Tech coach Frank Beamer to take the redshirt off Tyrod Taylor and start him in Week 2.
* Limited mobile White and West Virginia to a single field goal. Time will tell, but White is now a distant contender for the Heisman Trophy after being near the top of many lists.
The Pirates have held their two opponents to a combined 8-of-24 on third downs. ECU, in contrast, has converted 15 of 29 third downs.
Indeed, the ECU offense has kept the defense fresh by controlling the ball -- about 11 minutes longer than West Virginia and 6 minutes longer than Virginia Tech.
Part of the equation is experience: Ten of the starting defenders are either juniors or seniors.