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View from the 'ville
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

By Al Myatt

Transformed BC Eagle ready to compete

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

Dominique Davis has yet to take a snap for East Carolina under the supervision of the new football coaching staff, but it's a virtual certainty that he will challenge the inexperienced trio that emerged atop the depth chart at quarterback in spring practice.

"We're not in a position that we can afford not to take a good look at him in preseason camp," said ECU associate head coach John Wiley.

Sophomore Brad Wornick, redshirt freshman Rio Johnson and sophomore Josh Jordan were listed 1-2-3 after 15 workouts in spring ball. The group's total game experience amounts to seven passes thrown by Jordan in three back-up appearances in 2009.

Davis will be the wild card when ECU's quarterback competition resumes with the start of preseason practice on Aug. 5. He may not have been exposed to teaching sessions in spring ball with Ruffin McNeill's new staff but he is acclimated to the speed of big time college football.

Davis started three games for Boston College as a redshirt freshman at the close of the 2008 season. After receiving a one-year academic suspension at BC, he played last season at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas and helped the Greyhounds to an 11-1 record — the program's best mark since going 11-0 in 1970.

Davis completed 63 of 138 passes for 741 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions at Boston College in 2008. He connected on 17 of 43 passes for a career-high 263 yards and a touchdown in a 30-12 loss to Virginia Tech in the ACC championship. Davis went 15 for 36 for 190 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles were topped 16-14 by Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl.

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Junior college transfer Dominique Davis, a contender to succeed Patrick Pinkney as East Carolina's starting quarterback, spent the 2008 season at Boston College where was tutored in the position by then-Eagles QB coach Steve Logan. (submitted photo)

Logan's influence

Davis is settling in at his fourth program in five years, counting a stellar career at Kathleen High in Lakeland, FL, when he passed for 2,758 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior in 2006. He was all-state on the 3-A level. Davis received offers from Nevada-Las Vegas, Ole Miss, Bowling Green, Western Kentucky and Buffalo.

"BC kind of recruited me late," Davis said. "Jeff Jagodzinski and Steve Logan, which they were here (at ECU) a few years back, they talked me into it. I couldn't really turn it down."

Logan, who was head coach at ECU from 1992 to 2002, was quarterbacks coach at BC.

"Steve Logan is a genius," Davis said. "He made me what I am as a quarterback."

Davis was initially recruited to ECU by former Pirates coach Skip Holtz. He was highly impressed by the game atmosphere at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium when he visited for ECU's 25-20 win over Southern Miss on Nov. 28 last season.

"It was the best situation for me to get on the field early," Davis said of potential playing time as Patrick Pinkney's successor. "I love Dowdy-Ficklen. When I came to that game, that sold me. I wasn't going anywhere else."

But Davis didn't sign with the Pirates in February.

"It was a little bit of Skip leaving," Davis said. "I didn't want to rush things. I wanted to see who was going to come in after Skip left so I just sat out the spring semester."

Davis said he was in Greenville and observed some spring practices.

"It all started when I came here for spring football," he said. "I got to know some of the players. I really couldn't do anything in the spring but off the field I got close with the players and that helped me come here for the summer.

"When I came here for the summer, I felt more comfortable."

Spread offense to his liking

Davis has watched film this summer, without the coaches, and is trying to get a handle on ECU's new spread passing attack.

"It's basically a quarterback's dream, to throw the ball like this," he said. "We get the ball out quick and we have great receivers. They're very athletic."

Davis and teammates are taking part in summer lifting and running sessions supervised by ECU strength and conditioning coach Mike Golden. Davis said he has been impressed by the work ethic of the group that will be providing protection for the Pirate passers.

"It all starts with the O-Line," he said. "The O-Line is like the engine of a car. You can't go without the engine. The O-Line is our engine. We go as they go. They are the hardest working group on the team right now. They work day in and day out, trying to be one of the best O-Lines in the nation."

Davis, too, is focused on making himself better.

"It starts right now in the summer, getting better on your own," he said. "When camp starts, that's when we'll compete. The competition starts and we'll see what happens from there."

For Davis, the spread passing game will be a reversion to his high school days. At BC, the Eagles sought a run-pass balance. At Fort Scott, the emphasis was on running the ball.

Narrow focus at Fort Scott

Davis admits that he made mistakes that led to his academic suspension at BC but the experience on the junior college level made him a better man.

"What makes you a man is that you learn from your mistakes," he said. "Some people need everything taken away from them to know how important it is. That's what happened to me. Everything was taken away from me and I didn't have anything.

"I had to start all back over and do it the right way. Basically, if you do it the right way, good things will happen. Fort Scott made me a man. It was totally different from what people would think. Fort Scott, the head coach, Jeff Sims, made me the man I am today."

Davis said there weren't a lot of things competing for his attention during his season on the juco level. Advice and encouragement from older half-brothers, including tight end Desmond Clark of the Chicago Bears, also helped him keep his football career on track.

"There wasn't nothing to do out there," he said. "All you could do was focus on school and football. There wasn't really anything outside of football that you could do to keep you distracted. The surroundings kept me motivated and kept me focused."

Davis threw for over 1,000 yards for the run-oriented Greyhounds and Sims called him the most accurate passer he had coached. Davis, who stands 6-foot-3, has added 17 pounds to his frame since his days at BC when he weighed in at a slender 198.

Ready for challenge at hand

Davis is not in awe of playing in a spread offense on the college level.

"Coming in (at BC) as a freshman, I was because I didn't watch as much film as I did in high school," he said. "Being in college and watching film, it's nothing hard. It's pretty much second nature now."

He's not getting ahead of himself at ECU.

"We'll take it one day at a time and see what goes on from there," he said.

After conditioning drills, the strength coaches leave the practice field and Davis is able to work informally with his receivers.

"Everybody has to put in the work to be a great offense," he said.

David ran six times for 33 yards during the portion of the season he played at BC. He doesn't anticipate having to scramble at ECU.

"I haven't really focused on running because there's not going to be situations where somebody's not going to be open," Davis said.

Although he's anchored in the moment, the transfer from Boston College, by way of Fort Scott, has his goals.

"Of course, my goal is to be the starter, to be a leader of the team, be a captain and lead this team where they haven't been before," Davis said.

As far as any messages for the Pirate Nation, he's looking forward to the season opener at home against Tulsa.

"Everybody be ready for Sept. 5," Davis said.

E-mail Al Myatt

Al Myatt Archives

08/06/2010 01:56 AM


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