Pirates, Blues and Barbecue - Day 1
Dec. 29, 2009
Welcome to Memphis, the 2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl and Pirates, Blues and Barbecue, the official blog of this week's trip.
Head Coach Skip Holtz and the players arrived in the City of the Blues yesterday while the rest of the football and East Carolina administrative staff flew out of Kinston, N.C., and arrived in Memphis at 10 a.m. CT today.
Check the Pirates, Blues and Barbecue blog daily to read about all the ECU activities before the Jan. 2 kickoff against the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Holtz' Afternoon Press Conference
Holtz believes the focus of his team for this AutoZone Liberty Bowl is different from last season's contest. He said, "I think with our football team, there is a totally different approach and mind-set this year. Last year, we came to Memphis, had a great time and were treated incredibly well by the people of Memphis and the Liberty Bowl. I think this year the mind-set has been to get back to the Liberty Bowl to win that game. The team is very focused with what we're doing."
Members of the Arkansas media represented the majority of individuals at the press conference, with local Memphis media also present. Most of East Carolina's media contingent will arrive tomorrow and Wednesday.
To hear more of Holtz' press conference, click on the link at the top of the page.
East Carolina Afternoon Practice
The Pirates had seven days off, so today's practice was designed to shake off any rust that might have accumulated during the layoff. The players went through their traditional stretching and individual skill drills before getting in some team work toward the end of practice. The players spent the last 20 minutes of field time going through a lengthy conditioning drill to try and burn off most of the Christmas dinner they had consumed last week. The temperature was falling south of 40 toward the end of the practice, so it was a chilly run for the Pirate group.
Team Welcome Dinner At Peabody Place
In addition to the food, the players went bowling at the Peabody's lanes and played pool. Contests between East Carolina and Arkansas players were also held during the welcome party. ECU junior wide receiver Javon Brumsey took on Arkansas sophomore tailback Dennis Johnson in the video game NCAA Football 10. The two players represented their schools with the game being projected on a big screen for all in the restaurant to see. Brumsey led the Pirates to the victory as players from both teams cheered with every big hit on defense or large gain on offense. After the ECU win, senior defensive lineman Scotty Robinson led the team in a cheer that filled the restaurant. Robinson yelled out, "It's a beautiful day," with the rest of the team responding, "to be a Pirate."
Robinson was then called up on stage to compete in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Idol contest. Razorback junior defensive end Damario Ambrose started the singing battle with his rendition of "Lean On Me." Robinson countered, but then Ambrose called up redshirt freshman defensive back Matt Marshall and the two free-styled their way to a victory. All three participants did a fantastic job and had everybody in the standing-room only restaurant clapping along.
Memphis Grizzlies Game
At halftime of the game, Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino and Holtz were escorted onto the court, introduced to the crowd and shown on the video board.
The Grizzlies game concluded the day's events. Tomorrow will follow much of the same schedule with the players being allowed to sleep in before heading to meetings and practices in the early afternoon.