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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

By Brian Bailey

Ruff relishes Christmas with the Pirates

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Ruffin McNeill will get to spend his first Christmas as East Carolina's head football coach with his entire program family on the holiday.

The Pirates will hit the road to Washington, DC, early on Christmas Eve and spend the holiday in our nation’s capital.

“I’ve had a chance to do it before,” said Coach Ruff. “It’s a lot of fun and I think the players enjoy it. I’m really looking forward to doing it as a head coach, though.”

Over the weekend the opponent in the Military Bowl was named. Maryland, though not exactly thrilled about it, will take on East Carolina in the December 29thth bowl.

The Terrapins had hoped for a better option in the bowl process, especially after beating North Carolina State in the last week of the regular season.

That call didn’t come, and the Terps slid down to Washington, DC.

The Military Bowl was absolutely thrilled. They’ve got a matchup that should sell plenty of tickets, especially if the Maryland crowd buys in despite not moving up in the Atlantic Coast Conference bowl pecking order.

The Pirates will get back to work this week with a couple of practices. McNeill says he hopes to have the game plan in and ready to go before the teams leaves on Christmas Eve.

“We will start concentrating on Maryland on December 12th when we practice that day,” said McNeill. “We will put that game plan in and wrap up practice on the 18th. We’ll let the players go after that and they’ll report back to Coach (Mike) Golden late on the 23rd.”

McNeill says he doesn’t really worry about keeping the timing of the offense on track. McNeill says it’s all a balance of getting a certain amount of work in.

“We have old guy and young guy practices,” he said. “We really just want some of the old guys, like Dwayne (Harris) and Josh (Smith) to get totally healthy. They need some work, but they need to heal up.”

Maryland opened as a 7½ point favorite in the game. That’s a pretty good number in ECU’s favor, especially with the problems the Pirates have had on defense.

As for Ruffin McNeill and the month of December, you get the feeling that he enjoys Christmas and will certainly love having his entire program with him this year to celebrate the holiday.

This weekend, he’s hosting a big party for his staff and their families. You could hear the excitement in his voice.

“We’re having all of the coaches and their wives and kids this weekend,” said McNeill. “Those kids will be running all over the place. I can’t wait!”

Santa Claus comes in all shapes and sizes.

I think Christmas came early for Ruffin McNeill when he got the job at East Carolina. He’s been doling out presents ever since.


E-mail Brian Bailey.

Brian Bailey Archives

01/20/2011 01:56 AM


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