Game Preview: East Carolina, Part 3

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Jason Snelling could have a big day against ECU’s run defense if the Hoos run him straight ahead.

East Carolina faces an interesting dilemma this week. Does it stick to its bend-but-don’t-break mentality on defense and wait for an opportune time to force turnovers? Or does it copy the pattern of others so far this season and blitz Virginia? Either way, this may be the Cavaliers’ chance to get the offensive line going because ECU has not used a complicated blitzing scheme this season and that has been the biggest challenge for the Hoos so far.

Virginia Offense vs. ECU Defense

If Skip Holtz learned anything from his Hall of Fame father (Lou), it’s that you can’t say enough good things about an opponent, even if they’re bad.

“This is still a talented and powerful Virginia football team,” Holtz said. “We have to remember they are coming out of the ACC and we’re in a building and growing progress. We can’t go into the game thinking we’re very confident. I feel better with our performance over the past six quarters. We still have to go out there and play the game.”

After watching Duke send everyone but the water boy last Saturday, the expectation is that East Carolina will blitz the daylights out of Jameel Sewell and the Cavalier offensive line. But that would be uncharacteristic of a Pirate defense that typically runs a read-and-react flex scheme out of a 4-3 alignment. ECU defensive coordinator Greg Hudson runs a straight forward 4-3 defense without a lot of stunting or man coverage.

The secondary utilizes a basic Cover 2 zone and though they have had an extra week to prepare, it’s often difficult to institute an entirely new game plan in a week. Add to that the issue of several ECU players being bed-ridden with an illness and the missed practice time would make installing an 8- or 9-man pass rush difficult.

Against Navy’s option offense, the Pirates deployed some odd-man fronts and it will be interesting