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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 16, 2011

By Brian Bailey

Competition intensifies at first scrimmage


Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show, featuring guests Ruffin McNeill, Brian Paschal, Jim Bob Bryant and Todd Lipe. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930.
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Competition intensifies at first scrimmage
Pirates face uncertain future
Furr sets sail from Chapel Hill to Greenville
Ruff & Co. strike a chord with prep, juco coaches
Defensive optimism makes a comeback
Connors passes the baton
ECU Media Day Gallery
Audio: Ruffin McNeill Media Day Presser

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Even the coaches say they have to go to the “tape” before they can truly evaluate a preseason scrimmage.

I had a chance to watch the first 30 minutes and the last 30 minutes of Saturday’s first scrimmage of East Carolina's preseason camp. The media is only allowed a certain amount of time for video purposes and then we are allowed back afterwards for interviews.

Still, I enjoyed watching the competition. The effort was certainly there, though sometimes misguided with the many penalties.

ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill said afterwards that most of those penalties were fixable.

“I thought it went well today,” said McNeill. “I thought there (were) a lot of really good, competitive situations. We saw some really good plays from the group.”

After practice on Sunday, McNeill had more to say about his team’s first scrimmage. He was most pleased that his offense had just one turnover, and that his defense had a couple of big stops on third and fourth down.

“After watching the scrimmage film, I saw some things I was very pleased with,” McNeill said. “The effort was there. We’re still not at the point where we want to be, but I saw great effort.”

The defense continues to be under a microscope this preseason. The “D” had several stops behind the line of scrimmage on Saturday, but defensive coordinator Brian Mitchell said there were also some fundamental miscues.

“I saw some mistakes,” said Mitchell. “I saw some pad level issues that we need to get better. I saw some guys on two legs making a lot of plays. The uncertainty that we create as a defense gives us an edge.”

McNeill and Mitchell are in agreement that the defense will be a work in progress for a while. The switch to the 3-4 has been a good one so far, but both coaches know there will be some growing pains.

Mitchell expects his defense to improve each and every time out.

“I am thinking simple successes,” said Mitchell. “Can we leverage the ball? Can we tackle great? We aren’t there yet. We are running to the ball and minimizing the yards after the catch and that was good to see.

"You know going into the first scrimmage that there are going to be some deficiencies. You want the players to be assignment-sound, running to the football and tackling well. We still have some work to do.”

Harris shines in NFL Debut

Former Pirate Dwayne Harris had a great first outing with the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday night.

Harris had five catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns. The first touchdown was on a 76-yard sprint past the Denver Broncos' defense, while the second touchdown came on a fourth down play in the final minute which proved to be the game winner after a successful two-point conversion.

Dwayne Harris

Harris was asked about his long breakaway TD after the Dallas win.

“I just didn’t want to get caught from behind,” Harris joked.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said afterwards that Harris had shown signs of stardom times in practice. He also said Harris has a lot to learn as a rookie in the Dallas offense.

I think Harris has a good shot at good playing time this season, especially when the Cowboys find out just how physical Harris can be with his blocking down field.

No matter what happens, Dwayne Harris had a night to remember in his Cowboys debut! offers all preseason games on line for just $19.99. It’s a great way to keep up with all of the former Pirates and their various teams this preseason.


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Brian Bailey Archives

08/16/2011 02:57 AM


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