Ecu Fall 2023 Schedule – The long and winding road to eternal college football glory for Michigan’s 2023 season begins tomorrow with one of three non-conference adjustments. First on the schedule is the East Carolina Pirates, the first meeting between ECU and the Wolverines. The Pirates come from the American Athletic Conference and are coming off a solid 8-5 campaign, although they did not live up to the high expectations of the program this year. Now comes the predicted decline, as the Pirates suffered major losses on both sides of the ball in the offseason: Bill Connelly ranked ECU 130 out of 133 teams in production going back to February, and that was before suffering the loss of further by posting on the. portal – Spring. This team is completely different.
Mike Houston is a good coach who has won everywhere he has been, Lenoir-Rhyne (DII), The Citadel (FCS), James Madison (then FCS) and now East Carolina. ECU was 9-27 in the three seasons before Mike Houston came in and it took them a few years to get going. They went 4-8 in 2019 and then went 3-6 in the COVID-shortened season. After the pandemic, Houston gained bowl eligibility over ECU with a 7-5 season (the Military Bowl was not played because BC pulled out after the virus outbreak). They were tasked with going into 2022 fully loaded with veteran players on the roster, but had a furious 7-5 repeat season, losing games by 1, 2 and 3 points. The season-ending win over neighbor Coastal Carolina was just a little medicine to shake off the pain of the 2022 season.
Ecu Fall 2023 Schedule
The strength of ECU’s defense is probably its defensive line. On a team with a lot of turnover and fresh faces, the Pirates have three returning starters on the DL, those who profile better as defensive players than offensive players. The team ranked 21st nationally in rushing per game last season, allowing 118.9, and will look to build on that this season, relying on experience in the trenches.
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East Carolina runs a 3-3-5, with a speedy EDGE who can count as a fourth DL if he chooses. Chad Stephens plays one EDGE spot with his hand on the ground, weighing 261, next to a pair of linebackers, the lightweight Elijah Morris (264) and the larger D’Ante Johnson (294). Their backups are also very experienced, including giant NT Jason Shuford (6’4, 322), who I suspect will thrive in short yardage and rushing situations. When you factor in EDGE rusher Jeremy Lewis, who is better as a run defender than a pass rusher, you have a unit that was pretty strong against the run last season against Group 5 offenses.
Of course, we’re talking about Michigan here, not your Gof5 offense that you run. And while Morris and his backup JD Lampley have proven to be solid FBS football players, it’s hard to imagine they’ll even be able to hold their own against Michigan’s majesty on the inside. Now ECU will want to do what most 3-3-5 teams want, block out and let their supporters work. They can be a nuisance, but it’s hard to see them winning battles outright.
That puts the spotlight on the linebackers, who are the Piarsach’s weakness. The LB room was decimated in the offseason, leaving many moves up from FCS, returning players who were rarely used, and one move down from P5. South Carolina State’s BJ Davis and Taylor Jackson (the only returning LB to log >100 snaps last year) could be about to start at WILL and MIKE, respectively, but I’m not sure how that’s established . These two players will be given a baptism of fire tomorrow, but the same can be said about their reserves. When ECU Rush EDGE picks up for true USA, it will be UNC transfer RaRa Dillworth, a former blue chipper who was terrible last season and was rejected by the ACC. If you’re DC Blake Harrell, you can’t feel great about putting a lot on the plate of these LBs, but when the defensive linemen are 260 lbs. fight Zak Zinter, you have no choice. It probably won’t end well for your defense.
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PRINCIPAL: MICHIGAN’S IOL vs. MORE DESIGN DT. We saw this matchup many times last year, Nebraska perhaps the most famous. IOL Michigan against teams with too few DTs and most of the time results in opponents being blown out of the water going forward. If that happens for ECU, given the state of their LB room, Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards could see big results on the field.
If Michigan wants to start JJ McCarthy and show that their passing offense will be a bigger focus of the offense in 2023, this game will likely be a good opportunity for them to do that. ECU was so big in terms of sacks last season, and their secondary was completely gutted in the offseason as well. Even with a hit from the catcher, the home side should have no problem moving the ball past the Pearsagh defense tomorrow.
The same defensive front mentioned in the previous section was pretty stout against the run last season. He didn’t do much to create a passage. The team is in the middle of the FBS in sack rate, but the reality is probably worse than that: PFF ranks ECU 125 in team passer rating. For example, Jeremy Lewis, an EDGE rusher, is a much better player against the run and doesn’t provide much of a pass rush, even though that is the primary duty of his hybrid role. None of their DTs ranked better than 61 in the pass rush and Lewis
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The best pass rusher among EDGEs last season. They’ll probably dump their LBs and DBs because that’s what a 3-3-5 defense does, but I don’t see much potential for an organic pass rush. In some ways, this is the first reasonable litmus test for the Michigan picks, because if ECU is getting organic pressure, that’s going to be a pretty bad sign.
As for the secondary, ECU is transferring two starting safeties, Teagan Wilk and Julius Wood. They toured with the now-remaining third safety last season, so this isn’t their first ride. The bad news is that the cornerbacks are new, they lost their top four goalies from last season. Shavon Revel, a former JUCOer, could start at one position in the outfield, while the other could be between different players. Isaiah Brown-Murray is only 5’9″ tall and redshirted last season, so good luck with that. The other options are again a mix of FCS upshifts and P5 downshifts. For many (all?) The corners that ECU uses tomorrow, their trip to the Big House their first real dose of FBS action .. A decent back safety could help, but it won’t help much.
KEY MATCHES: FRESHMAN WRs vs. PATCHWORK GROUP OF FIVE SKONDIKA SCHOOL STUDENTS. Let’s be honest. Michigan’s starting WRs can probably cook these guys, especially with McCarthy possibly having a lot of time to throw. The point of this type of game is to see players lower on the depth chart, and we heard a lot of good things about Michigan’s freshman receivers in camp, with promises to play in the opener. Let’s see them against this DB group!
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ECU was blitzed (shouldn’t the Pirates blitz?) after spring practice on the OL and as a result, his blocking situation is likely to be much worse than it could be . After all the smoke cleared, the wreckage of the sunken Pirate ship revealed only one returning OL starter, righty RG Isaiah Foote. An injury to the OL transfer changed some things ($), but the OL stack for ECU will likely include a decent USF transfer (Dustyn Hall), last year’s 6th round, a former walk-on, and RS Fr and then Foote. Uh Huh.
Last season’s East Carolina OL was ranked 100th in various run blocking metrics by Football Outsiders and this group is likely to be much worse. It will be surprising if they get any pressure against Michigan’s monstrous interior defense, as well as EDGE players who play the run exceptionally well. All this is far from me I think you should say a few prayers now for the welfare of their runners.
Those running backs fill the big hole left by departing star RB Keaton Mitchell and it looks like some sort of combination will get the job done. These players were a clear step down from Mitchell last season and probably don’t have the fearsome evasion needed to muster a meaningful field day if the Alligators are given their blockers. Marlon Gunn Jr. and Rahjai Harris had 67 carries last season, Harris more than Mooseback, although they are similar weights. Gerald Green comes from Georgia Southern and is third