NEWS, NOTES &
The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
By Bethany Bradsher
Linemen get some Ruff love
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typical press conference, the members of the media ask the questions, but at
his first weekly media event on Monday, East Carolina football coach Ruffin McNeill turned the tables on
question happened to be the sixth one posed to McNeill about the Great
Pirate Quarterback Battle, and McNeill, in his good-natured way, had just
about had enough. He shifted the topic to a subject he was passionate about,
and one that hadn’t been mentioned yet in 45 minutes of questioning.
like those quarterbacks, don’t you?” McNeill bantered. “I’m going to answer
that question when you ask about our five linemen first. Who’s our left
several members of the press passed the pop quiz by answering, “Willie
Smith,” McNeill launched into his most passionate remarks of the day,
drawing attention to the players that remain unappreciated even though every
true fan understands their value.
offensive linemen, those guys are my babies,” he said. “My babies are my
offensive line and my defensive line. I love those boys. That’s where you
win championships. You ask Skip, you look back, those guys won the
championship for them.”
accommodating, McNeill then talked a little more about Dominique Davis and
Brad Wornick and their unique abilities behind center, cautioning reporters
that they could only ask another quarterback question if they were ready to
give the name of another one of his 300-pound “babies.”
line is one of the most experienced units on the field, with three seniors,
a sophomore and a redshirt freshman listed as the starters on the most
recent Pirate depth chart. The sophomore is Dalton Faulds at center, and he
earned the edge in the lineup because of recent injuries to junior Will
Towery. But that position is still being contested, especially because
Towery has looked stronger in practice, McNeill said.
Will do some good things,” he said of Sunday’s workout. “He was still slowed
a little, but he did go out and get some good work in.”
6-foot-3, 287-pound sophomore from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, was a member of
the scout team for his first two seasons, but the new staff and revamped
offense — along with Towery’s knee injury in the spring — have given him a
chance to emerge. On Monday, McNeill said that Faulds would start if he had
to make the decision that day.
has gotten some very valuable reps in practice, and blitz pick-up work,
which he’ll need,” McNeill said. “Most people will try to blitz this
offense. Dalton has done a good job of leading. That guy makes all the
calls. That’s an important position.”
The Faulds-Towery duel at center, like the quarterback scenario, perfectly
demonstrates McNeill’s number one principle of promoting excellence at each
position: Make sure every starter feels like a very talented and motivated
player is breathing down his neck.
the first things I mentioned was, ‘There’s no entitlement here,’” he said.
“And that is still at the forefront of what we believe in here. Going into
fall camp, we wanted to establish competition at all positions.”
if one position’s competition is getting most of the attention, the ECU
staff members are applying themselves to create mini-battles all over the gridiron.
Competition is one of those things that McNeill loves, along with lineman,
football fundamentals and the renovated stadium into which his Pirates will
storm on Sunday.
Reflecting on the stadium expansion process, he had nothing but praise for
the administrators and contractors who made it happen, and as he described
the finished product he was reminded of legendary college football venues he
has coached in before: Texas A&M, Oklahoma State.
magnificent facility," he said of ECU's updated digs. "It’s second to none in my opinion. The Jumbotron just
adds to it. The seating, the Boneyard where our kids will be, I can’t wait
to see it. I want them to be very loud, but do it in a classy way. What we
have here at ECU is second to no one. I believe that, and you’d have to
fight me to get me not to believe it."
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09/01/2010 06:57 AM