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ECU coach Mike Houston just hoping he doesn’t throw up next week

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East Carolina v North Carolina State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

East Carolina head coach Mike Houston no doubt knew he had a lot of work ahead of him when he took the job in December, and if he didn’t grasp the extent of the problems, watching the Pirates bottom out against NC State last season probably took care of it.

Houston told reporters this week that he watched that game and found the proceedings both cursed and disturbing.

“I sat and watched last year’s game this morning, and it made me absolutely sick to my stomach,” said Houston, who took the ECU job just days after the NC State finale. “I just, we have got to focus on improving every single day. There are some things on that field last year that are non-negotiable for me: Effort, teamwork, positive enthusiasm, toughness, coming off the ball, tackling.”

I thought the whole thing was delightful, personally.

I would urge Mike Houston not to be too ambitious in achieving some of these goals, though. Just as a friend, I’m urging this. As a guy who is really interested in seeing the Pirates get it right. You don’t want to come out in week one and give effort and show positive enthusiasm and play tough and tackle and all that other stuff. You could overwhelm the team! Frankly, it’s just not worth it.

My recommendation would be to do only one of these things next week. Do some positive enthusing—I want to see a lot of clapping—but there is no need to worry about tackling or execution or other on-field stuff at this point.