GREENVILLE – Emanuel Davis found the statistics simply embarrassing.
East Carolina, with its rich football tradition built on defense, finished last season with Conference USA’s worst total defense. The Pirates yielded an average of 478.8 yards and 44.0 points per game, their total defense ranking 120th in the nation.
Davis, who owned up to his part in the defensive debacle, declared responsibility as a returning senior to restore the Pirates’ defensive reputation. He started talking to teammates shortly after East Carolina dropped its final football game of the season against Maryland in the Military Bowl on Dec. 29.
He hasn’t stopped reminding them.
“I’m definitely putting it in people’s ear because I was on some of those teams where we won championships off defense,” said Davis, a defensive back who took part in the Pirates’ back-to-back conference championship seasons in 2008 and 2009. “I’m just trying to get those guys to realize this is a program built off defense.”