Ecu Spring 2023 Schedule – Michigan’s long and winding road to eternal college football glory in the 2023 season begins tomorrow with one of three non-conference slates. First up on the schedule is the first game between the East Carolina Pirates, ECU and the Wolverines. The Pirates are coming off an 8-5 campaign out of the American Athletic Conference, though the program hasn’t lived up to lofty expectations all year. Now comes the expected decline as the Pirates suffered heavy losses on both sides of the football in the offseason: Bill Connelly ranked ECU 130th out of 133 teams in February’s return production, and that was before more losses in the portal post. – Spring. This team is completely different.
Mike Houston is a great coach who has won all over 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 arrived, and it took a few years to get them off the field. They went 4-8 in 2019 and then 3-6 in the shortened COVID-19 season. After the pandemic, Houston qualified for the season with a 7-5 win over ECU (the Military Bowl was never played due to BC’s withdrawal after the virus outbreak). They filled the 2022 roster with veteran players, but lost games by 1, 2 and 3 points to repeat the 7-5 season. Closing out the season with a win over neighbors Coastal Carolina was just a small measure to ease the pain of the 2022 season.
Ecu Spring 2023 Schedule
The strength of ECU’s defense is probably their defensive line. On a team with a strong rotation and fresh faces, the Pirates have three returning starters on the DL who are better run defenders than rushers. Last season, the team ranked 21st in runs allowed per game with 118.9, and they will look to improve on that this season using their experience in the trenches.
East Carolina University
East Carolina runs a 3-3-5 with a rush edge that can be considered a fourth DL if you so choose. Chad Stevens, 261, has hands in the dirt, playing the edge position next to the light Elijah Morris (264) and big De’Anta Johnson (294). Their backups are also very experienced, including giant NT Jason Shuford (6’4, 322). When you throw in EDGE Jeremy Lewis, who excels against the run as a passer, you’ve got a formidable lineup against last season’s top-5 offenses.
Of course, we’re talking about Michigan here, not some run of the mill Gof5. While Morris and backup JD Lampley have proven themselves to be solid FBS football players, it’s hard to imagine them being able to compete with Michigan’s big men on the interior. Now, most ECU 3-3-5 teams will do what their DL wants, which is hang up and let their linebackers do the work. They may cause trouble, but it’s hard to see them winning the war.
That focuses on the linebackers, which is a weakness for the Pirates. LB room was decimated in the offseason, leaving FCS-high transfers, rarely used players, and P5-low transfers. South Carolina’s BJ Davis and Taylor Jackson (the only returning LBs to log 100 snaps last year) could line up to start at WILL and MIKE, but I’m not sure how this will set up. Both of those players will get their baptism of fire tomorrow, but the same can be said for their backups. With ECU scrambling for a true SAM, that would be UNC transfer RaRa Dilworth, a former blue chipper who was atrocious last season and bounced from the ACC. If you’re DC Blake Harrell, you might not like putting many of these lbs on the plate, but 260 lbs. Go against defensive lineman Zack Sinter and you have no choice. This may not end well for your defense.
East Carolina Accepts Bid To 2021 Military Bowl
Key matchup: Michigan’s IOL, undersized DTs. We’ve seen this matchup many times over the past year, perhaps most famously Nebraska. Michigan’s IOL team struggled against a smaller team and often blew the opposition out of the water. If that happens at ECU, there could be big changes on the field for Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards given the state of their LB room.
If Michigan wants to sign JJ McCarthy and show that their passing attack can be a big focus of the offense in 2023, this game will be a good opportunity for them. ECU was so prolific in producing sacks last season that their secondary was completely destroyed in the offseason. Despite some receivers playing, the home team should have no trouble moving the ball against the Pirate pass defense tomorrow.
The defense in the former division was very strong last season. That pass did little to create a rush. The team is ranked in the FBS, but the reality could be worse: PFF ranks ECU 125th in team pass rush. For example, Jeremy Lewis, their speed edge, is a very good player against the run and doesn’t rush much despite his primary responsibility in the hybrid role. None of them were higher than 61st class
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Best rusher among EDGEs last season. They’ll probably run a 3-3-5 defense because of their LB and DB blitz, but I don’t see much potential for an organic pass rush. In some ways, this will be a decent first litmus test for Michigan’s tackles, as it would be a very bad sign if ECU gets organic pressure.
For the secondary, ECU replaces two starting safeties, Teagan Wilk and Julius Wood. Last season, they returned with the now-departed third safety, so this won’t be their first rodeo. The bad news is that the top four cornerbacks lost last season are all rookies. Shawn Revel, a former JUCOer, could start one outside cornerback job, and another could be among several players. Isaiah Brown-Murray is only 5’9″ and redshirted last season, so good luck getting him. Other options are again a mix of FCS high and P5 low transfers. The ECU will use it in most (all?) corners tomorrow. . , their trip to the Big House will be their first real dose of FBS action. Adequate security measures may help with returns, but they don’t help much.
Key matchup: Freshman WRs vs. Five patchwork group environments. Let’s be real here. Michigan’s starting WR can cook for these guys, especially since McCarthy will have plenty of time to throw. The goal of a game like this is to move players further up the depth chart, and we’ve heard plenty of good things about Michigan’s new receivers in camp, including the promise that they’ll play in the opener. See them against this hodge-podge DB team!
Coastlines Spring 2023 Available Now
On the OL, ECU has been raided since spring practice (shouldn’t the Pirates be raiding?) and as a result, their blocking situation is likely to be much worse than before. After all the smoke clears, only eligible RG Isaiah Foote, returning OL starter from the wreckage of a sunken pirate ship, is revealed. Things ($) figured out around injuries at transfer OL, but the collection of players at OL for ECU includes a respectable USF transfer (Dustin Hall), last year’s sixth man, and former program guy. . A RS Fr then leg. oh
Since last season, East Carolina’s OL has ranked in the top 100 in Football Outsider’s various run blocking metrics, and this group could be pretty bad. It would be amazing if they get going against Michigan’s formidable defensive interior and edge players who play well against the run. All that said, I think you should pray for the safety of their running backs right now.
These running backs are filling the big hole left by departing star RB Keaton Mitchell, and it looks like it could be the kind of tandem that works. A real step up from Mitchell last season, those players will give their blockers to the Gators if they don’t have the mind-bending stealth needed to have a meaningful day on the field. Marlon Gunn Jr. and Rahzai Harris combined for 67 carries last season, Harris more than Musbeck, even though they carry the same weight. Gerald Green, third, transfer from Georgia Southern