The East Carolina University football team may have found the answer to its problems with winning on a consistent basis when it hired new head coach Mike Houston on Dec. 3. Fans, alumni and spectators have waited for spring football practice to begin so they can see what Houston has in mind for the team as he works to bring the team back to its winning ways.
Houston and the football team kicked off spring practice on Friday Morning. Houston spoke with the media the day prior to that expressing what he wanted to accomplish in the spring. Some people may overlook what spring training can do to a team, but Houston is not one to do so.
“This offseason stuff, it’s really, really important because when it comes game day in the fall, last time I checked - they keep score,” Houston said. “It matters who wins. You win games in the offseason. You don’t win games on game day as much as you do right now. Right now, we’re working on what we’re going to be in 2019.”
Coming off of three straight 3-9 seasons, Houston is looking to see improvement from his team all around. Houston said he is looking for his team to become more physical and more efficient on offense, defense and special teams than what they were at the end of the 2018 season.
Houston said there is going to be a different style of play from all sides of the ball. He said the team will have a disciplined, gap-sound, physical defensive front and how they plan on playing with a chip on their shoulder. He wants the team to attack people. Houston talked about how they plan on using some trickery and some misdirection on the offensive side of the ball with freshman quarterback Holton Ahlers returning healthy from the injuries he suffered in his non-throwing hand and knee in the 6-56 loss the Pirates were handed back on Nov. 23.
“What I saw on film, scheme wise, X and O wise, I don’t see those as the problems. I see the execution and the style of play as being the biggest things we need to get fixed,” Houston said. “The big thing is that I want to see us improve, every single day. There is a certain formula to winning football games and so the biggest thing I want to see is us improve on a daily basis.”
The football team is now in full-swing looking to show the vision Houston had in mind. The annual Purple-and-Gold game is set to take place on April 13 at 1:30 p.m. Houston wants fans and spectators to see a better and more improved ECU football team.
“I’m a firm believer that it is not what you do, but how you do it,” Houston said. “That’s the biggest thing we’ve got to change is how we do it. The problems in the past were not what they were doing, but very much how they went about it. I can promise you that our team will not look the way they looked last fall when we take the field on August 31.”