East Carolina begins Year 2 of the Mike Houston era with the goal being to finish at least .500 and become bowl eligible. The Pirates return seven starters on offense and the Running Back by committee approach of Senior Darius Pinnix, Jr. and Sophomore Demetrius Mauney will help lead the way. They will be running behind a makeshift Offensive Line that only returns three starters but has loads of potential. Junior Quarterback Holton Ahlers will be zipping the ball downfield consistently this coming season and he has all three of his best targets back this season in Junior Blake Proehl, and Sophomores C.J. Johnson and Tyler Snead. Both Tight Ends have experience and will be on the receiving end of some of Ahlers passes as well. New Defensive Coordinator Blake Harrell will have his work cut out for him as East Carolina only returns six starters on defense and only one on the Defensive Line in Senior Chance Purvis. The Pirates do bring back all three starting linebackers in Juniors Xavier Smith and Gerard Stringer, and Senior Bruce Bivens. The Secondary will be solid with three starters returning including both Safeties – Junior Daniel Charles and Senior Tank Robinson. The Special Teams unit should be solid if not spectacular as both Senior Kicker Jake Verity and Senior Punter Jonn Young both return. Can East Carolina build on last season’s 4-8 record. I will say yes as I have the Pirates finishing 6-6 in 2020.