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 ad message in front of 1,000's and 1,000's of Pirate fans. Call 252.349-3280 for flexible options & rates.





From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

By Brian Bailey

"Routine" tripping up Pirates

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

The word routine has a mundane sound to it.

Success with the “routine" plays, though, is a key to this high-powered offensive attack at East Carolina.

The fact that the Pirates didn’t execute the routine at times on Saturday was a major point of concern afterwards.

Saturday’s first football scrimmage at East Carolina was closed and video cameras weren’t allowed.

I did get a chance to catch the last 90 minutes or so. Like everyone else, I really wanted to see the battle for the quarterback position.

First year head coach Ruffin McNeill has said that the battle is down to three candidates. Dominique Davis, Rio Johnson and Brad Wornick saw the bulk of the action, though true freshman Shane Carden played late and threw a touchdown pass.

This new Pirate offense is based on making routine plays. Every short pass is designed to be executed in a way that the pass is just about always completed. These passes are viewed as long handoffs by the offense, and these plays are expected to have a high rate of execution.

That execution wasn’t there on Saturday. The offense apparently peaked early, and the routine plays were a problem from the middle of the scrimmage on.

“The whole key to it in my mind is making those routine plays,” said Coach McNeill after Saturday’s work. “I’ve always thought that the team that makes the most routine plays is the one that is the most successful. There were some good plays. But the routine plays, those are the ones that we have to get.”

None of the three quarterback candidates really stood out on Saturday. Junior Dominique Davis still appears the favorite to win the job, but he had his struggles late in this first scrimmage.

“I started off pretty hot in the beginning,” said Davis. “Then I think we fell off from the middle on. I think I was trying to make too much happen. I think we finished off well and that’s what really matters.”

Sophomore Brad Wornick came out of nowhere to win the job in the spring. He has a certain calmness about his play that will keep him in the quarterback race.

“I know it’s a three-quarterback race,” said Wornick. “I thought we all went out there and did some good things at times. It didn’t go perfectly for sure.”

Wornick welcomes the competition.

“We are all getting better, because of the competition at quarterback,” Wornick added.

Redshirt freshman Rio Johnson is bigger and stronger this year. His touchdown pass to Lance Lewis was probably the highlight of this first scrimmage.

Johnson had the best stats on Saturday, completing 18 of 28 passes for 164 yards and the one touchdown.

“I missed a couple of those routine plays today that I make every day at practice,” said Johnson. “We just have to keep working to get better.”

Coach McNeill also wanted to find some depth for his squad in this first scrimmage. That’s why many of the starters didn’t play all that much. They’ll get more work this week in the second scrimmage.

“I think we found some depth,” said McNeill. “We came in with a plan of rotation in a methodical way. We found some guys that we know can help us on offense and defense, especially up front. We’ll watch some film and evaluate further, but I think we found some guys up front that certainly will help us.”

Along the lines of making the “routine” plays were problems on third down and penalties.

The Pirates were just 6-23 on third down conversions. Ten penalty flags also added to some of the frustrations.

“There’s nothing that we saw out there that we can’t fix at practice,” said Coach McNeill.

Making the routine play will be the big theme as camp continues.

Stadium Look

Pictures just don’t tell the story of how different Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium looks with the addition of the 7,000 seats.

It is one of those things that you truly have to see to believe.

I can only imagine what it will look like when those 7,000 seats are full, and what that will look like when the Pirate offense is driving toward that end zone.

The high definition scoreboard is another aspect that you’ll have to see to believe.

If the Pirates master the routine over the next couple of weeks, the atmosphere at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium this season will be anything but routine.


E-mail Brian Bailey.

Brian Bailey Archives

08/17/2010 03:05 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.