ECU offensive and defensive line depth, experience has Pirates well prepared for season

“We are much deeper than we have ever been.”
ECU lines deeper and more experienced than they have had in recent years.
ECU lines deeper and more experienced than they have had in recent years.(WITN)
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 4:23 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Most of the area will be focused on Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday. The Pirates are following the old football adage of playing to win in the trenches, on both sides of the ball.

“We are much deeper than we have ever been. I think coach Shank would be comfortable playing probably 8-9 guys in that first game,” says ECU offensive coordinator Donnie Kirkpatrick, “You can’t just play like the d-line, you can’t roll them in their like that, you’d have no continuity.”

Bulking up the offensive line was a priority for ECU this offseason. Parker Moorer one of those pieces to come in from West Virginia. The group is as tight as he has been around.

“Showed up, camaraderie, guys already treating me as a brother. I don’t even know these guys names and stuff,” says ECU offensive lineman Parker Moorer, “First week I came here they showed me love. Like how you doing, if you need anything let me know, give me a call, everybody gave me their number. Things like that.”

“The offensive line, you know they start like this five fingers,” says Kirkpatrick, “When they become a fist, work together, that’s when you got a pretty good punch to you.”

The defensive line is really deep, in fact three deep or more across the line. South Central grad Jeremy Lewis is one of the starters. He played 12 games last year made 49 tackles with 4 sacks.

“It’s very exciting to know I can give my all every snap and know someone can come in and do the exact same thing right behind me,” says ECU defensive lineman Jeremy Lewis, “Once one of us get tired, if we do get tired, they can come in and nothing will change. It will be the exact same thing. That’s very, very exciting.”

In the middle Elijah Morris came on through last season and is expected to start as well. He had 2.5 sacks and 5 quarterback hurries. So much depth has brought competition for snaps across the board.

“You know when you have that much competition it makes everyone better,” says ECU defensive lineman Elijah Morris, “We are bringing in more youth to our D-line. The old heads that are in that room, were molded into the defense, and we know it like this snap. So it’s real fun.”

Loads of experience across the defense has them adding wrinkles no one has seen yet. They are way ahead of their recent curve. The Pirates are prepared for the test the explosive N.C. State offense has for them.

“It’s all there. Snap, here’s the look we want to do pre-snap. Post snap we know exactly what we are getting to, what we want to be doing, how we want to attack, how we want to set it up, disguises presnap those are things we are focusing on right now,” says ECU defensive coordinator Blake Harrell, “Kind of higher level thinking. The 5-600 level thinking. Of where we want to be with our defense.”

ECU and 13th ranked N.C. State kickoff on Saturday at Noon in Greenville.

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