East Carolina Pirates Preview 2022: Preview, predict and look ahead to the East Carolina season, find out what you need to know and the key to this season.
East Carolina Pirates Preview
Head Coach: Mike Houston, 3rd year at East Carolina, 14-19
Year 12 overall, 94-44, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 7-5, Conference: 5-3
key to the season | Season predictions, what to expect
Top 10 East Carolina Players | East Carolina time zone
East Carolina Pirates Preview 2022
East Carolina is fun.
It was the first winning season since 2014, with seven wins as many as the first two years of the Mike Houston era, and the plan was to bowl again, only to be called off.
The offense was strong, the defense wasn’t terrible, and the team did what it had to do in a stepping stone season — it beat the team it was supposed to do. Now the next step is to start beating the better ones.
It’s a weekly thrill ride, with seven games decided by touchdowns or less before the battle against Cincinnati — for a while — closer than a 35-13 final score.
It will take some tinkering to get the offense up to speed, but the defense is experienced, last year’s key backup should be ready to shine, and with the USA Track and Field Conference just around the corner, this is the year the program will reposition itself as the league’s future star.
For now, it’s enough to just qualify for the bowl again.
East Carolina Buccaneers Preview 2022: Offense
The pirates’ offense is better than ever, But it still has to be much better at pass protection, and it’s probably more explosive.
Yards are there, few teams score better after entering the red zone, but the receiving team has to be redone, the lines need to be stronger, and – more on the key section – the running game has to be better every time it goes out .
The passing game would be good. QB Holton Ahlers is a veteran quarterback who knows what he’s doing — he throws for at least 200 yards every time he’s out — and should have no problem receiving.
Tyler Snead took off early, but CJ Johnson was a dangerous deep threat and Ryan Jones was a decent tight end with 37 passes and five points. Like last year, Allers will pass the ball around.
The line will at least be experienced. Now it has to stop pass rushers. Too many teams live in the backcourt for free, but with a decent starting base return, West Virginia’s Parker Muller should find a spot at left tackle, and overall a top-five would be better.
The Buccaneers are very young in the running back rotation. The Ahlers will also take off and add yards, but the combination of sophomore guard Keaton Mitchell and more impactful Rahjai Harris should once again push for over 1,500 yards. Getting North Carolina State to move Camaro Edmonds is going to be a big deal at some point.
East Carolina Pirates Preview 2022: Defense
Defense is fine. Don’t brag about it as anything dismissive — 2015 was the last time ECU didn’t give up 6 yards per game. It’s not like a brick wall, but the D is at least in the middle of the AAC package. This is a huge improvement, now having experience after a lot of running in with the lower graders at key points.
The Buccaneers used a lot of parts and should pay off by now. All-Stars LB Bruce Bivens and S Jaquan McMillian are both gone, but they only managed 57 and 56 tackles, respectively. Myles Berry is back at an inside linebacker position and Jeremy Lewis will once again be a key pass rusher for his mixed positions – however, he leads with just four sacks The team — and Xavier Smith is about to play a bigger role.
Middle school had a good mix last year. Again, rotation is important and safety should be fine now because their feet are soaking wet. Malik Fleming is an experienced all-round corner kicker.
East Carolina Buccaneers: Season Keys, Top Games, Top Transfers, Interesting Stats