TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Pirates settle QB
race, gird for opener
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Two years ago the decision went down to the final second. Players and
coaches knew that Dominique Davis would be East Carolina's starting
quarterback. Many of us in the media thought we knew, but nothing was
official until Davis took the field.
The Pirates' public address announcer didn’t even have his name to say
with the starting lineups.
This year things are different.
ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill made the announcement that Rio Johnson
would be the Pirate’s starter during his first weekly news conference of
the season. [Open
the Bonesville Bytes audio page to replay the press conference...]
Coach Ruff breezed through it during his opening comments, but was asked
for more details later on.
“It was a tough decision,” said McNeill. “It was tough telling the guys
on Sunday. I still feel that we can win with any of the guys. It was
close, but Rio was just a little ahead moving the team.”
McNeill went into even more detail.
after the following image.
Rio Johnson saw action as a reserve last
(Photo: ECU Media Relations)
“All four of the players were within percentage points of each other,"
McNeill said. "The last few days saw Rio Johnson step forward based on
the way he managed the team, but not by much. It just came to the point
where we had to get one guy ready to play this weekend."
Appalachian State will come to Greenville as an underdog, but the Pirate
coaches and players know the Mountaineers will come here with a chip on
Coach McNeill, Associate Head Coach John Wiley and wide receivers coach
Donnie Kirkpatrick have all worked at Appalachian State and know what
the Pirates are up against this week.
“They will certainly come in here with a chip on their shoulder,” said
Wiley. “I’ve been there and I know the mentality will be that the
players at App (Appalachian State) aren’t as good as the players at East
Carolina. I disagree with that. The difference we have is that our depth
is better. But they certainly have very good athletes.”
Coach Ruff also knows all about the Appalachian way.
“This is not a team that will be intimidated by travel or venue,” said
McNeill. “They will be here to play their best game and so will we.”
The Mountaineers come to Greenville as the fifth-ranked team in the
preseason Football Championship Subdivision poll. Jamal Jackson leads
“He’s built a lot like Dominique Davis for sure,” added Wiley. “He is a
threat to run it or throw it. They like to spread you out and use him as
The Pirates will be favored, but no one in the East Carolina camp is
taking Appalachian State lightly.
ECU fans remember the 2009 game. East Carolina bolted out to a 24-0 lead
had to hang on for a 29-24 victory.
The Pirate offense had just four first downs in the second half of that
This Appalachian State team will have that same “no quit” mentality.
It’s a tough test for the opener. It’s also part of an extremely
difficult opening month.
A good start against that schedule is just about a must. Just don’t
overlook the Mountaineers from Boone.
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08/28/2012 02:15 AM