TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
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Thank goodness it’s game
week! Another long, hot summer is just about in the books and now we can
all enjoy the East Carolina football season.
Just take a quick ride
around the stadium. There is a hustle and bustle that you just don’t get
Everything is new this
year. There’s a new coach in Ruffin McNeill. There’s a new coaching
staff. There are 7,000 new seats. There is a new HD video scoreboard.
There is also a new style,
a more relaxed story-telling style from the head coach.
Ruffin McNeill simply
doesn’t meet a stranger. His
first in-season news conference
lasted about twice the time as those led by his predecessor, Skip Holtz.
“Coach Ruff” has a story
for just about everything and he doesn’t mind spending the extra time
talking about his excitement.
"We're finally to game
week,” said McNeill. “It's finally here. There is great anticipation
from the outside and there is even more within this building among the
players and coaches. It's really neat.”
The big question at this
first game week media gathering with Coach McNeill centered on the
The Pirate coaches had
narrowed the candidates to a pair in junior Dominique Davis and
sophomore Brad Wornick. McNeill says the Pirates can win with either
quarterback in the huddle.
"In this offense and what
we do, a strong arm is great,” said McNeill. “But, it's where to deliver
the ball, when to deliver it and how to deliver it that is the most
important. Both guys are doing a great job. I just have to get the team
focused. There is nothing we're trying to hide. Those guys are battling
"If you had a chance to
watch the film, you would see one guy during seven-on-seven complete
great throws and then in team-on-team, the other guy does the same
thing. It has been back and forth. The competition is what I want.”
Lincoln Riley is the youngest coordinator in all of college football.
He’ll call his first game as the Pirate’s offensive coordinator on his
“All I want for that
birthday is one present,” Riley said. “All I want is to celebrate a
was my guest on the radio last
night on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930. He is certainly wise beyond his
years. He loves this offense and he thinks his Pirates are catching on.
“When we execute we are
pretty good,” said Riley. “When we play well we can beat any team on our
schedule. The problem is that if we don’t play well, then any team on
our schedule can beat us.”
I honestly tried to get
both Coach McNeill and Coach Riley to give me a hint about just who
would start at quarterback against Tulsa. Both just smiled.
If you listen to what
McNeill and Riley are saying I think they have a pretty good idea on who
the starter will be. I think the guy is Dominique Davis, with his past
experience at both Boston College and in junior college as his one big
advantage. Both coaches like his leadership and athleticism, so I think
Davis will get the nod.
The Golden Hurricane may
come to town thinking it’s “Tulsa Time” for them to win one in this
The Pirates beat Tulsa in
the 2008 Conference USA title game on the road and then went back to
Oklahoma and beat the Golden Hurricane again in 2009.
Coach McNeill says he
can’t do anything about any revenge motive for Tulsa.
“I can't speak for any
past rivalry and history that might be,” said McNeill. "I can only focus
on what we can control. That's going against a well-coached team. I know
Todd (Graham, Tulsa coach) and the programs he has been around, so I
know he will prepare the team well.”
Personally, I can’t wait
to see the students filling up the new end zone seats in the “Boneyard.”
I’m looking forward to hearing what the stadium sounds like in this
preliminaries are over. Game week finally turns to game day on Sunday.
It should be an opener to remember!
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08/31/2010 03:42 AM