TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Scrimmages wrap up,
season draws near
BRAIN BAILEY SHOW
Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW.
Brian's guest, ECU coach RUFFIN McNEILL,
talked about the team's personnel and looked
ahead to the Pirates' schedule. Eastern North
Carolina's longest running
sports radio call-in show airs each Monday
night from 6:30-7:30 on Pirate Radio 1250 and
Pirate Radio Home
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I have been attending East Carolina football scrimmages for almost
thirty years. I always enjoy the early taste of football, but I still
find it hard to really learn anything about the team using these
The coaches certainly know what they are looking for. But each head
coach through the years uses a different philosophy about the workouts.
Former Pirate coach Skip Holtz would use the scrimmages as
mini-marathons. Holtz and his staff had long scrimmage games, getting in
plenty of plays for the preseason.
Current coach Ruffin McNeill has scaled his scrimmages down a bit.
Injuries are always a big concern this time of the year, and the longer
the team is on the field, the more chances that a player could get hurt.
Saturday’s second scrimmage was quick and to the point.
"There were some positive things that happened on both sides of the
ball,” McNeill said. “I thought we also had a good special teams period
before we got started as part of preliminary pre-game routine."
One of the big points of emphasis during camp has been on turnovers.
Last year the turnover bug hit the Pirates in the second half of the
opening game against South Carolina and never let loose. Coach Ruff and
company have vowed that this year will be different.
Last week I went out to practice and was interviewing quarterback
candidate Shane Carden. His arms were covered in wet sand. My first
thought is that he was sent to the sand pit for being late or something.
“I turned it over,” Carden explained. “I made a bad decision, but I
learned from it.”
If anything can change the turnover mindset, it’s that trip to the sand
pit with Coach Jeff Connors!
Coach McNeill was my first guest this season for my radio show on Pirate
Radio 1250 and 930. It’s hard to believe that Pirate Radio is set for
its 10th football season. I’ve had the privilege to be with them since
“I like the way this team goes to work,” Coach Ruff told the radio
audience Monday night. “I like the way they don’t make excuses and the
way they come to work each day.”
The Pirates wrapped up the summer slate on Monday. The squad will take
Tuesday off and then begin its normal set of afternoon practices on
Normal game weeks feature a Sunday workout, a day off on Monday, and
then preparation work on Tuesday through Friday, before Saturday’s game.
"I'm looking forward to returning to our regular routine and getting
into a game-type mode for the rest of this week," McNeill said. "I
thought we accomplished what we needed to during camp with our
execution, tempo and football intelligence.”
That football IQ has been a point of emphasis throughout camp. Turnovers
were the big problem a year ago. Coach McNeill wants a smarter football
team that hangs on to the ball.
Those giveaways were the biggest reason the Pirates weren’t winners in
2011. If the Pirates can create more takeaways and protect the ball
better, the wins will come in 2012.
But that is a big if, for sure.
E-mail Brian Bailey.
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