UCF at USF, 12 pm
Houston at SMU, 12 pm (CBSSN)
ECU at Tulsa, 8:30 pm (ESPNU)
Cincinnati at Temple, 12
UConn at Memphis, 4 pm (ESPNN)
Ruffin and stuffin'
Carolina's football team
observed Thanksgiving on
Wednesday and will fly to
Tulsa today for an American
Athletic Conference game
with the Golden Hurricane at
8:30 p.m. Eastern time on
Friday. The contest may be
seen on ESPNU. ...
More from Al Myatt...
Hawaii edges East Carolina
ESTERO, FL — East Carolina
overcame an 11-point second
half deficit to lead Hawaii
with 8:18 left in the
fifth-place game in the Gulf
Coast Showcase on Wednesday
before the Rainbow Warriors
responded with a 14-3 run en
route to a 75-73 win over
the Pirates. ...
Tyson helps ECU hold off
ESTERO, FL — Freshman guard
B.J. Tyson scored East
Carolina's last eight
points, including all six of
his free throw attempts down
the stretch, as the Pirates
held off Fresno State for a
58-52 win in the Gulf Coast
Showcase on Tuesday
Audio: The Brian
Brian Bailey Show
airs on Pirate Radio
1250 on Mondays at
6:30 p.m. Brian's
guest this week was
ECU director of high
Audio: Coach Ruff Weekly
coach Ruffin McNeill spoke
with the media at his weekly
press conference on Monday
as the Pirates prepare to
visit Tulsa for a Friday
night matchup (courtesy of
Pirate Radio 1250):
Green Bay tops ECU
ESTERO, FL — Short-handed
East Carolina opened play in
the Gulf Coast Showcase at
high noon on Monday and was
dealt a 66-49 setback by
Green Bay. The Pirates were
without versatile senior
wing man Paris
Roberts-Campbell due to a
knee ailment and post player
Marshall Guilmette because
of a hip flexor injury. ...
'Deuce' becomes No. 1
GREENVILLE — "Deuce" is how East
Carolina football coach Ruffin
McNeill refers to senior inside
wide receiver Justin Hardy. It's
because Hardy wears uniform No.
2. "Deuce" became No. 1 on
Saturday, moving ahead of former
Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles
for the most career catches in
Football Bowl Subdivision
More from Al Myatt...
the day with
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East Carolina's football team observed Thanksgiving on
Wednesday and will fly to Tulsa today for an American Athletic
Conference game with the Golden Hurricane at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time on
Friday. The contest may be seen on ESPNU.
The Pirates (7-3, 4-2 AAC) had a script rehearsal
Wednesday in a short week following
a 34-6 league win at home
over Tulane on Saturday. The ECU coaching staff had made plans for a
pair of six-day game weeks early on.
The Pirates conclude the regular season at home on
Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. against Central Florida on ESPN.
"We went over the defense, offense and special teams
script," said ECU coach Ruffin McNeill of Wednesday's practice session.
After the workout, the Pirates headed for Harvey Hall of
the Murphy Center for their Thanksgiving meal that was planned by Dale
Steele, director of football administration.
"A really nice Thanksgiving dinner with all the
trimmings," McNeill said.
The place settings included china. There was turkey,
dressing and the whole nine yards to consume. The non-traveling team
members got to go home after the meal.
McNeill said the Pirates would get into their regular
game week routine following the plane flight out of Greenville.
The team used to fly from Kinston but this is the second
season the Pitt-Greenville Airport has accommodated the ECU program.
McNeill appreciates the convenience and hospitality of
the local airport.
Thankful for family
McNeill is thankful for his family, which includes his
immediate kin and everyone who is a part of the football program at ECU.
That includes wife Erlene, daughters Renata and Olivia,
granddaughter Isabella, dad Ruffin Sr. and brother Reggie.
"My Pirate family, my sons on the team," McNeill
continued. "The coaches that I work with, they're my brothers. I'm
thankful for that and I'm thankful for Pirate Nation and being here at
"I'm thankful that we're able to live in a country that
we have men and women that fight for us every day that we don't even
know about. We know about the broadcasted theaters of battle but there's
battles going on that we don't know about ... I'm thankful to be able to
do what I'm doing. I'm thankful for all of that."
Quality reps have been emphasized during the reduced
practice schedule this week.
"This is the 18th week, counting fall camp," McNeill
said. "We looked at the schedule during the summer. It's been 14 weeks
of the season since
the Central game. That's
a lot of practices. ... We've geared our practices to suit that. For the
first time in my college career, we have not had a day where a kid has
loafed in practice. That's amazing, isn't it? Not one day have I had to
jump 'em for not giving great effort.
"We've played a very physical schedule. This week we've
shortened practices and monitored our reps. We get our work done but we
do it in a more compacted amount of time."
Earlier in the season the Pirates may have practiced over
two hours at a time.
"Right now, you can't do that because you want them
fresh," McNeill said. "We spend more time in the meeting and classroom
part. On the field, it's snappy. It's really good because we can't have
any do-overs, repeats of plays. That puts more focus on getting it right
the first time.
"Monday was heavy day, install (game plan) day, but even
that — we cut minutes off that.
"The next week will be even quicker so we have to be even
smarter with our reps — get them ready to go. We have to put our
different game scheme in but we have to be smart with the repetitions on
the field now."
Ruff, the movie buff
Part of the routine is the team's trip to the movies the
night before a game.
McNeill said the Pirates watched the new Hunger Games
release before playing the Green Wave.
"The newer and more exciting ones are coming out next
week," McNeill said. "The following week and the bowl game, there are
some great ones coming out. Hunger Games was great last week. This may
be a funny one this week. The best one on the block is a comical one."
McNeill's administrative assistant Ann Hoggard confirmed
that the selection was Dumb and Dumber 2 with Jim Carrey and Jeff
"I'll let them laugh a little bit," said the ECU coach.
Living on Tulsa time
The chuckles tonight will give way to game day and final
preparations on Friday.
"Offensively, up tempo," McNeill said of the Golden
Hurricane (2-9, 2-5 AAC). "The quarterback, Dane Evans, is a redshirt
sophomore. The game has been slowing down for him."
Tulsa has some interesting ties to ECU football history.
Former ECU coach Ed Emory felt
a run-in with former athletic director Ken Karr
at Tulsa in 1984 ultimately led to his dismissal at the end of the
Another former Pirates coach, Steve Logan, is a Tulsa
graduate and later served on the coaching staff at his alma mater.
Logan was offensive coordinator when Tulsa defeated the
Pirates in Emory's last season by a 31-20 score on Oct. 13, 1984. That
was the first game between ECU and Tulsa. The Pirates lead the series,
ECU won its first Conference USA championship at Tulsa
under Skip Holtz in 2008,
picking off five passes in a 27-24 victory.
Current Pirates defensive coordinator and secondary coach Rick Smith was
in charge of the defensive backs at that time.
This will be the first AAC meeting between the two
programs in their first year in the new league.
"We catch everybody's best shot," McNeill said. "The
teams are bigger in this league. I talked to Curtis (Johnson, Tulane
coach) last week. We're the new inductees — Tulane, Tulsa and us. It's
challenging but it's fun. We love it. ... Just winning is the focus and
I love the passion that we have."
Love from Aresco
AAC commissioner Mike Aresco was proactive in his support
of record-setting ECU receiver Justin Hardy when he was omitted from the
list of semifinalists for the Fred Biletnikoff Award prior to the Tulane
Hardy became the Football Bowl Subdivision career leader
last week and has 355 receptions as a Pirate.
“The American Athletic Conference congratulates Justin
Hardy on setting the all-time FBS career receptions record," Aresco said
in a statement this week. "He has had a remarkable career, which has led
to this very significant milestone. Justin epitomizes what is best in
college sports. He is an outstanding student and teammate who has
already graduated with a bachelor’s degree and is pursuing a second
undergraduate degree in industrial technology. He is a great ambassador
for East Carolina University and the American Athletic Conference, and
we are all extremely proud of him.”
Brown continues to mend
Returner/receiver Trevon Brown continues to recover from
a knee injury and McNeill said he may possibly be back for the bowl
"They are my sons," McNeill said. "I watch them in
pregame. If they're not doing the things naturally, I don't want to put
them out there because it's putting them at more risk. I double and
triple check my mind and I go with my instincts. I love football but I
love the kids more.
"Trevon wants to get back. We'll see how his rehab goes
the next couple of weeks."
With three games in 13 days, rest for the players is
important. There were no classes Wednesday.
"We ordered them to get rest," McNeill said. "Coach C
(strength and conditioning coach Jeff Connors) talked to them about the
benefit of getting rest and hydrating."
McNeill will meet with the team before chapel at 10:30
this morning. Special teams meet at 11:10 a.m. The flight will take off
"It's a two hour, 40 minute flight with the head wind,"
McNeill said. They radioed that in to us yesterday. We'll get there
around 3:40 (p.m.) our time, maybe 2:30 their time. We'll gain an hour.
We'll get to our hotel and bunker down."
There will be offensive and defensive meetings this
afternoon, dinner and a movie tonight.
"We meet after we come back from the movie," McNeill
said. "Offense and defense and then I'm the last one they talk to at
night. .. . We'll sleep in a little bit (Friday). Once they're awake,
we'll go breakfast, special teams, offense, defense. Then a break and
we'll go pregame. I'll meet with them again before we get on the bus to
head to the stadium."
It may be a six-day game week, but the Pirates have been
preparing for it since early August.