September 18, 2010 by staff
Ecu Football, The football team of the Central University has rarely left a feeling of loss as good about his future as the Tigers did after dropping a 20-7 decision Saturday to the sixth ranked Texas A & M-Kingsville. But this week’s opponent, the fifth-ranked Abilene Christian, has become a way of feeling good to bad in a hurry.
“We’re playing another great team,” said ECU head coach Tim McCarty, whose 0-2 team will face the 2-0 Wildcats at 6 pm Saturday at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene. “It’s a computer that has a lot of weaknesses.”
As the Tigers did not pass his first two events of the season, falling 45-23 at Fort Hays State before losing to TAMUK, took a big step forward – especially on defense – last week against a team coming off a season Opening discomfort former No. 1 Division II Northwest Missouri State. McCarty said he hopes to build on that momentum this week against an opponent in order of the Lone Star Conference South Division.
“We see it as an opportunity,” said McCarty. “We are very close.
“I like our team, and I like the future of Central Timor football a lot,” he said. “Once we have the pleasure of winning, I do not think we’re going backwards.”
ECU has not won a football game since Week 8 of the 2008 season and has not won in 17 away games dating back to 2007, but Tiger – passed 202-33 in the first four games of a season 0 – 11 in 2009 – at least competitive in its first two outings this fall.
McCarty’s defense surrendered 450 yards last week in Kingsville (vs. 513 in the loss of Fort Hays), but recovered much of that total over 133 yards in returns on four interceptions. Cornerback Dontae Smith recorded two interceptions and was rewarded with North LSC Defensive Player of the Week honors, and Charlie Burks returned another selection for the only touchdown ECU.
“Dontae had a huge game,” said McCarty. “And also had 17 rushing / or visits to quarterback, and I think he had seven sacks (ECU actually had six, including two of Travis Buchanan). We had the pressure on the quarterback more or less overnight.
“Our defensive line did a great job in Kingsville offensive line,” he said. “Kingsville just had a superior ability on offense – he had a lot of good players, and fast.”
Buchanan took over the defensive end when starter Maurice Lanclos suffered a knee injury in the first half against Kingsville, and he fired a pass rush that was even more impressive considering starting other end of the defense of the Tigers Armonty Bryant, also missed missed most part of the game with leg cramps.
“When you go on defense, your job is get you off the court,” says McCarty. “It’s a battle of field position during the game. We gave up some yards, but our defense always ended with a play that has some of the backyards.”
While the defense uses big plays to back repeated threats from feral pigs, crime ECU – which had issued more than 350 yards the previous week – sputtered most of the night. Given the exceptional field position the defense on several occasions, quarterback Tyler Vanderzee and the Tiger offense could not move against TAMUK rock ribbed defense, which held ECU to 87 total yards, including the least-9 yards land.
Failed center quarterback exchange – a chronic problem after starting center Chad Roark left the game in the first half – led to several turnovers. The first was recovered by the boar in his 11 to kill only real threat from the Tigers in the first half, and also lost two fumbles, Vanderzee – not had an interception in 31 attempts at Fort Hays – was intercepted twice completing just 12-of-25 passes for 96 yards.
“Tyler was half last week,” said McCarty of Vanderzee. “Some of the lost communication problems between the center and the quarterback, but he has to do such work. He missed some reads hot, but also dropped five or six passes.
“Defense Kingsville was intended to stop after the game he had last week, and he was under pressure all night,” he added. “Overall, I would give about a B-minus.”
Vanderzee could have a slightly easier time Saturday against an ACU defense that surrendered 26 points in the 39-26 victories over No. 9 Washburn to open the season and 13 in 30-point hits the Northeast last week.
“Talent-wise, they’re very similar (defensive) of Kingsville,” McCarty said of the Wildcats, who have won six of eight previous meetings with the Tigers. “They run a different scheme. They are similar to ours (3-4) defense in terms of adaptation, and have excellent players on the defensive.
“They are a very disciplined team that does not have a lot of mistakes,” he added. “They started the season with two road wins, which is always difficult.”
Despite heavy ECU will be a loser for the third consecutive week, McCarty said he simply wants his team to continue the progress he showed in his home last Saturday.
“We’re not worried about the game the other team as much as we are with the play of our team,” he said. “Our approach is totally in the execution of the programs we use and at the same time the kind of play fast, physical football want to play.”
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