Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather





Put your advertising message in front of thousands of Pirate fans. Call 252.354-2215 for flexible options and rates.





View from the East
Thursday, October 20, 2011

By Al Myatt

ECU needs to take another step forward

C-USA Standings

East Division







West Division







Scoreboard & Schedule



ECU needs to take another step forward
Ruff girds Pirates for triple option
Audio: Ruffin McNeill Game Week Presser
Realignment game gets new dynamic
BCS Standings
Harris/AP/Coaches Polls
Alliance engages Big East in chess match

Conference Realignment Archives

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

A 35-17 win at Memphis showed that the East Carolina football team had sufficient character to overcome an early 10-0 deficit and remain in the picture in the Conference USA East Division race. It came following a 56-3 loss at Houston, the low point of a 2-4 start for the Pirates.

"It was a great team win, of course, but it was a great program win," ECU coach Ruffin McNeill said. "We worked hard, as hard as any group I've ever been around. ... The guys worked extremely hard in all aspects, in all phases. It was great to have some success. ... My satisfaction came from seeing the faces in the locker room of the players and the coaches after the game. It was a success and they felt great about it. Continued success builds confidence. We just have to keep working on it. I was pleased we stayed the course and came out with a win."

ECU will be looking to build some momentum as it heads to Navy (2-4) for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff on Saturday. McNeill liked the enthusiasm on the sideline and the Pirates' support for one another at the Liberty Bowl last week.

"We had a taste of it," McNeill said. "We've had really good physical days, physical preparation and mental preparation. We carried over what we had done in practice in the Memphis game. I tell the players that we don't ask them to do anything outside their capability. We just ask them to do their best. We don't ask anything of them in a game that we don't ask of them in practice."

McNeill will be looking for similar continuity after a good, physical practice session on Tuesday as the Pirates travel to Annapolis.

"Saturday morning when we wake up, we need to make sure we're ready to go," McNeill said. "They've had some tough games and we know they'll be ready to go. They're a very disciplined, very well-schooled group."

A win over Navy would serve as a springboard for the demanding home stretch in Conference USA.

Tough competition

Like the Pirates, the Midshipmen have faced a high caliber of opponents over the first half of the 2011 season. ECU's four losses have come to teams with a combined record of 23-4. The combined record of the teams that have beaten Navy this season is 19-6.

A year ago, ECU lost four fumbles in the third quarter and Navy pulled away from a tie at 21 late in the first half to hand the Pirates a resounding 76-35 defeat. Turnovers have been a nemesis for the Pirates this season as well as ECU is currently averaging minus-2.0 per game, the poorest turnover ratio in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

The Navy game will be a measuring stick in terms of ECU's resolutions to improve on defense this season as well as play smarter and improve its turnover ratio.

"We turned the ball over four straight times in the second half," McNeill recalled about last year's matchup with the Midshipmen on a rainy Nov. 6. "You can't do that against any team, but especially not against a team like Navy. ... We didn't play well last year. Offensively, we did some good things last year. We need to continue that really early and continue it in the second half."

Deceptive numbers

Obscured by the degree of the defeat last year was the fact that the Pirates had more first downs than Navy, 28-25, and produced 567 yards of total offense.

Kriss Proctor has replaced Ricky Dobbs at quarterback for Navy. Proctor got some playing time in Greenville last season, running five times for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Alexander Teich, who had 14 carries for 157 yards, including a 64-yard scoring run, is back at fullback for coach Ken Niumatalolo.

Hunt steps up

ECU may now have the most depth at running back it has had this season. Reggie Bullock returned to practice this week after missing the Memphis game with a leg injury. Torrance Hunt stepped up in his absence to rush for 98 yards on 16 carries. With one catch for two yards, Hunt produced an even 100 yards of offense in his first college start. Michael Dobson ran 12 times for 34 yards.

"Michael Dobson got banged up on the last play of the game against Memphis," McNeill said. "If Mike is ready to go, we have a three-back combination there. Torrance is playing extremely well and has added something very special to our team."

Pirates looking forward

It's difficult not to view the matchup with Navy in the context of a payback situation but McNeill has not expressed ECU's motivation in those specific terms.

"They did a great job against us last year and handed it to us very good here at home," said the Pirates coach. "It's two different teams. They have a different team from last year and so do we. We have a different team this year. We're looking forward to the game. I'm looking forward to having a chance to play them again.

"I respect what Kenny has done as a coach. He's done a great job there. We're looking forward to the game. I can't wait to see our guys play."

Navy's option attack presents a unique challenge.

"You have to have great assignment football but at the same time, attacking," McNeill said of the task facing the Pirates on defense. "Everybody needs to make sure they do their job and have great pursuit on defense. Offensively, we need to move the ball and take advantage of our possessions. We need to make sure we get points on each possession. We need to execute and take care of the football."

Henry to coach Midway Raiders

Former ECU standout running back Leonard Henry was named varsity boys basketball coach Wednesday at Midway High School, which is located between Dunn and Clinton.

"I'm humbled and honored by this opportunity," said Henry, who ran for 1,432 yards in 2001 and 3,089 yards in his ECU career. He played for the Miami Dolphins in 2004. Henry, 33, had been an assistant this season on coach Bob Lewis's football staff at Clinton High School.

"I'd like to suit up for the Pirates right now," he said, " ... but I believe I'm where the Lord wants me to be."

State Line Power Rankings

1. Clemson ... Tigers showed more than a Dab of courage in their comeback at Maryland.

2. South Carolina ... The Gamecocks just did squeak past Mississippi State but a win is a win.

3. North Carolina ... A slow start was too much to overcome against Miami; obviously a big challenge at Clemson.

4. Wake Forest ... A beatdown from Virginia Tech was a reality check for the Demon Deacons going in to Duke.

5. East Carolina ... Pirates took care of business at Memphis but need to step it up another notch at Navy.

6. N.C. State ... Coming off an open date, the Wolfpack may catch Virginia in a letdown after the Cavs' upset of Georgia Tech.

7. Duke ... After a brief exit, the Blue Devils return to the basement after a decisive loss to Florida State.

E-mail Al Myatt

Al Myatt Archives

10/20/2011 04:22 AM


©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.