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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

By Brian Bailey

Pirates get a jump on game week routine


Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show, featuring guest JEFF CONNORS. 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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Pirates get a jump on game week routine
One-on-One Interview with Justin Jones
One-on-One Interview with Torrance Hunt
Burning questions as season approaches
One-on-One Interview with Andrew Bodenheimer
One-on-One Interview with Michael Brooks
One-on-One Interview with Lance Lewis
One-on-One Interview with Justin Dixon
Ruff weighs in on recruiting discussion
Pirates' chief salesman makes ultimate pitch
Competition intensifies at first scrimmage

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

East Carolina’s football squad broke camp on Monday morning, another step towards the start of the new football season.

As if the logjam on Greenville Boulevard wasn’t evidence enough, the students are back and classes begin today.

The Pirates have been in football class for the last couple of weeks. Now the balancing act begins.

Pirate coach Ruffin McNeill explains it this way.

"This is the start of a mock game week," McNeill said. "We treated today like a regular Sunday practice with Sunday practice gear and Sunday practice preparations. Tomorrow will be treated like a Monday off day with the players going through their first day of classes. We’re trying to duplicate a game week to get them acclimated for next week."

Next week will be the true game week. East Carolina opens the season in Charlotte on September 3rd against South Carolina.

The Pirates ran through their second scrimmage of the preseason on Saturday morning at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Video cameras were not allowed but all indications were that the scrimmage went well.

Coach Ruff “eye-balls” a workout and then evaluates it on tape. Usually, his first impressions are proven through the camera’s lens.

"Watching film I saw fundamental improvement, which I’m always looking for," he said. "The schematic execution was very good from all sides of the football. The offense did a great job with some long plays and the defense was able to turn the ball over on fourth down and make tackles for lost yards."

The Pirates will take Tuesday off to start classes and then get set to begin
the team’s regular practice schedule.

McNeill says normal game week practices are much more specific and precise.

Those practices run down like this:

••• On Sunday, the team returns from a game and goes through meetings, film study, and conditioning and begins to think about the next week’s opponent.

••• Monday is the Pirates' day off. The NCAA mandates that teams take one day off per week. At East Carolina that day is Monday.

••• Tuesday is a heavy work day of practice in full pads. It is by far the team’s toughest day of work during the week.

••• Wednesday is considered a medium day. Hitting is curtailed for the most part, but the physicality of the practice is judged on an “as needed” basis.

••• Thursday is more of a dress rehearsal day for the squad. The game plan is now in place, just tweaked a bit during the walk-through. The squad limits the hitting even more compared to earlier in the week.

••• Friday is a travel day. For home games, it’s a bit of a second rehearsal as game day approaches.

Just like previous coaches at East Carolina, if the schedule changes for some reason, the days keep the same name. Thursday night games throw a big monkey wrench in the schedule, but players and coaches know that regardless of what the calendar says, five days before a game is a Tuesday workday, meaning the team will be in full pads and working hard.

At this point many are wondering, what day is it anyway?

The day that matters most is less than two weeks away, as the Pirates open at Bank of America Stadium against the Gamecocks.


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08/23/2011 02:11 AM


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