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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

By Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

Scrimmages wrap up, season draws near


Pirate Radio 1250 & 930 Logo

Brian BaileyReplay Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW. Brian's guest, ECU coach RUFFIN McNEILL, talked about the team's personnel and looked ahead to the Pirates' schedule. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night from 6:30-7:30 on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930.
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Scrimmages wrap up, season draws near
One-on-One Interview with Daniel Drake
One-on-One Interview with Dayon Arrington
One-on-One Interview with Grant Harner
One-on-One Interview with Warren Harvey
One-on-One Interview with Justin Jones
One-on-One Interview with Jacobi Jenkins
One-on-One Interview with Will Simmons
One-on-One Interview with John Lattimore
One-on-One Interview with Reggie Bullock
One-on-One Interview with Lee Pegues
One-on-One Interview with Andrew Bodenheimer
One-on-One Interview with Derrell Johnson
One-on-One Interview with Justin Hardy
One-on-One Interview with Damon Magazu
One-on-One Interview with Shane Carden
One-on-One Interview with Jeremy Grove
Impressive film clip brings Green, ECU together
One-on-One Interview with Rio Johnson
One-on-One Interview with Michael Brooks
Holland: 'Merger was not a good idea'
Positions at stake as players learn T.B.A.
Three sides of the ball times three
WBVL Audio: Coach Ruff Media Day Presser
Magazu: Getting past the big pick
Holland raises alarm about college athletics
Permalink: East Carolina 2012 Football Schedule
Permalink: Year-by-Year Recruiting Classes

By Brian Bailey
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I have been attending East Carolina football scrimmages for almost thirty years. I always enjoy the early taste of football, but I still find it hard to really learn anything about the team using these controlled workouts.

The coaches certainly know what they are looking for. But each head coach through the years uses a different philosophy about the workouts.

Former Pirate coach Skip Holtz would use the scrimmages as mini-marathons. Holtz and his staff had long scrimmage games, getting in plenty of plays for the preseason.

Current coach Ruffin McNeill has scaled his scrimmages down a bit. Injuries are always a big concern this time of the year, and the longer the team is on the field, the more chances that a player could get hurt.

Saturday’s second scrimmage was quick and to the point.

"There were some positive things that happened on both sides of the ball,” McNeill said. “I thought we also had a good special teams period before we got started as part of preliminary pre-game routine."

One of the big points of emphasis during camp has been on turnovers. Last year the turnover bug hit the Pirates in the second half of the opening game against South Carolina and never let loose. Coach Ruff and company have vowed that this year will be different.

Last week I went out to practice and was interviewing quarterback candidate Shane Carden. His arms were covered in wet sand. My first thought is that he was sent to the sand pit for being late or something.

“I turned it over,” Carden explained. “I made a bad decision, but I learned from it.”

If anything can change the turnover mindset, it’s that trip to the sand pit with Coach Jeff Connors!

Coach McNeill was my first guest this season for my radio show on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930. It’s hard to believe that Pirate Radio is set for its 10th football season. I’ve had the privilege to be with them since day one.

“I like the way this team goes to work,” Coach Ruff told the radio audience Monday night. “I like the way they don’t make excuses and the way they come to work each day.”

The Pirates wrapped up the summer slate on Monday. The squad will take Tuesday off and then begin its normal set of afternoon practices on Wednesday.

Normal game weeks feature a Sunday workout, a day off on Monday, and then preparation work on Tuesday through Friday, before Saturday’s game.

"I'm looking forward to returning to our regular routine and getting into a game-type mode for the rest of this week," McNeill said. "I thought we accomplished what we needed to during camp with our execution, tempo and football intelligence.”

That football IQ has been a point of emphasis throughout camp. Turnovers were the big problem a year ago. Coach McNeill wants a smarter football team that hangs on to the ball.

Those giveaways were the biggest reason the Pirates weren’t winners in 2011. If the Pirates can create more takeaways and protect the ball better, the wins will come in 2012.

But that is a big if, for sure.


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08/20/2012 11:07 PM


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