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View from the East
Saturday, December 20, 2003

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Rimpf takes shot at big time


Brian Rimpf has played his last game in the purple and gold of East Carolina but has one more game remaining on the college level.

Rimpf signed with an agent on Sunday and traveled to New Orleans on Tuesday with wife Lauren to begin training with fitness trainer Tom Shaw in preparation for showcasing his abilities for pro scouts.

Rimpf will play in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 24 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. The three-time All-Conference USA selection plans to attend the NFL combine in Indianapolis, Ind., in late February and also work out for pro scouts at ECU during Pirates "pro days" in March.

Some of the basic numbers on Rimpf: Height: 6-6; Weight, 316. Most recent 40-yard time, 5.27 seconds (spring, 2003); bench press maximum, 400 pounds; squat maximum, 660 pounds.

Pro scouts will be adding to their own files on the former ECU tackle in the coming months.

This will be Rimpf's third football trip to Mobile. He was a true freshman in 1999 and got to make the trip as a redshirt when the Pirates played Texas Christian in the inaugural Mobile Bowl. The Pirates returned to Mobile in 2001 to play Marshall in the postseason.

"The big thing is working out and trying to get faster and stronger between now and the Senior Bowl," Rimpf said Friday. "My agent said this is the first big test, an important game to show pro scouts and coaches some of my ability. Practice is really a big deal with all the scouts watching."

Rimpf chose Joel Segal of New York as his agent. He was introduced to Segal by ECU graduate assistant Larry Shannon, who was also represented by Segal during his pro career.

The Senior Bowl teams are guided by NFL coaches. After the game in Mobile, Rimpf's training focus will shift to preparing for the specific skills measured at the combine in Indianapolis.

Rimpf is supposed to meet a nutritionist next week, who will advise him on a diet that will decrease his percentage of body fat.

That may mean fewer helping of Lauren's specialty, cheesy chicken, at the couple's one-bedroom apartment in New Orleans. The Rimpfs will be in Raleigh for the holidays. Lauren will continue her education at ECU next semester in Greenville and will make some trips to New Orleans, where Brian will be living and working out.

"I hope to take an online course that will help me towards my MBA," said Rimpf, who graduated with a degree in business last May.

Rimpf went through a coaching transition before his senior year. J.B. Grimes replaced Steve Shankweiler as his offensive line coach.

"Coach Grimes had a little different style and I learned some new stuff," Rimpf said. "Maybe that will help me next year because I'll have to adjust to a new coach no matter where I go. Getting used to a new coach — maybe that proved I'm coachable. A lot of guys at the next level look for that."

Besides Rimpf, ECU's offensive front loses a number of significant players. Doug White, Corey Schmidt, Brian Fox and Brandon Pope have all completed their eligibility.

Rimpf is confident that ECU can continue the work in the trenches that has produced three different 1,000-plus yard rushers the last three seasons.

"Charlie Dempsey has a lot of experience," Rimpf said. "And Hagen Mason is back. They still should be good. There is talent even if there isn't a lot of experience. The new guys need to work hard but I look for them to block well and play well."

Junior college transfers Willie Metcalf, a tight end from Pima College in Tucson, Ariz., and big offensive lineman Joel Renaud of Reedley (Cal.) College were signed this week to bolster the blocking. ECU also announced the signing of defensive back Zach Baker from Pima.

Connors not a candidate

Jeff Connors has been at North Carolina for three seasons now, directing football strength and conditioning for the Tar Heels. During that span, ECU, where he served as head of strength and conditioning prior to moving to Chapel Hill, has remained close to his heart.

He even joined the Pirate Club last season and made a $500 donation.

But don't look for Connors to consider returning to ECU despite the announcement this week that the Pirates will hire a strength and conditioning coach primarily for football. He also said former Pirate standout linebacker Jeff Kerr, who has assisted Connors at UNC, is probably not ready for such an assignment.

Virtual Bowl

Pirate Club executive director Dennis Young said it's been exciting to see the level of interest in the Virtual Bowl, the idea of Doug Groome of Charlotte to raise money for the Pirate Club by selling bowl tickets — even though the Pirates didn't achieve bowl eligibility in 2003.

Young said the Pirate Club has adjusted its thresholds to realistic levels in response to the purchases of Virtual Bowl tickets. If 5,000 tickets are sold, commemorative bowl tickets will be printed. If 10,000 are sold, Young will get his head shaved and Matt "Big Guy" Maloney will get a Mohawk haircut at halftime of an actual Virtual Bowl event.

WITN-TV 7 showed enhanced pictures on its morning show on Friday of what Young and Maloney would look like if the promotion reaches the 10,000 plateau.

Young said that as of late Friday afternoon that about 400 tickets had been purchased at 30 bucks a pop.

"It's a great statement," Young said. "I know a lot of teams are struggling to sell bowl tickets. It we can sell tickets and not go to a bowl, that says a lot."

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02/23/2007 12:39:53 AM

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