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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

By Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

Pirates settle QB race, gird for opener


Pirate Radio 1250 & 930 Logo

Brian BaileyReplay Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW. Brian's guest, ECU associate head coach and linebackers coach JOHN WILEY looked ahead the the Appalachian State game. 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.
Pirate Radio Home Page


Pirates settle QB race, gird for opener
WBVL Audio: Coach Ruff Game Week Presser
McNeill facing pivotal game, campaign
Hoops recruiting: Forward Brandan Stith...
Defensive improvement still vital
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
Permalink: East Carolina 2012 Football Schedule
Permalink: Year-by-Year Recruiting Classes

By Brian Bailey
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Two years ago the decision went down to the final second. Players and coaches knew that Dominique Davis would be East Carolina's starting quarterback. Many of us in the media thought we knew, but nothing was official until Davis took the field.

The Pirates' public address announcer didn’t even have his name to say with the starting lineups.

This year things are different.

ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill made the announcement that Rio Johnson would be the Pirate’s starter during his first weekly news conference of the season. [Open the Bonesville Bytes audio page to replay the press conference...] Coach Ruff breezed through it during his opening comments, but was asked for more details later on.

“It was a tough decision,” said McNeill. “It was tough telling the guys on Sunday. I still feel that we can win with any of the guys. It was close, but Rio was just a little ahead moving the team.”

McNeill went into even more detail.

Article continues after the following image.

Rio Johnson saw action as a reserve last season.
(Photo: ECU Media Relations)

“All four of the players were within percentage points of each other," McNeill said. "The last few days saw Rio Johnson step forward based on the way he managed the team, but not by much. It just came to the point where we had to get one guy ready to play this weekend."

Appalachian State will come to Greenville as an underdog, but the Pirate coaches and players know the Mountaineers will come here with a chip on their shoulder.

Coach McNeill, Associate Head Coach John Wiley and wide receivers coach Donnie Kirkpatrick have all worked at Appalachian State and know what the Pirates are up against this week.

“They will certainly come in here with a chip on their shoulder,” said Wiley. “I’ve been there and I know the mentality will be that the players at App (Appalachian State) aren’t as good as the players at East Carolina. I disagree with that. The difference we have is that our depth is better. But they certainly have very good athletes.”

Coach Ruff also knows all about the Appalachian way.

“This is not a team that will be intimidated by travel or venue,” said McNeill. “They will be here to play their best game and so will we.”

The Mountaineers come to Greenville as the fifth-ranked team in the preseason Football Championship Subdivision poll. Jamal Jackson leads the offense.

“He’s built a lot like Dominique Davis for sure,” added Wiley. “He is a threat to run it or throw it. They like to spread you out and use him as a runner.”

The Pirates will be favored, but no one in the East Carolina camp is taking Appalachian State lightly.

ECU fans remember the 2009 game. East Carolina bolted out to a 24-0 lead and had to hang on for a 29-24 victory.

The Pirate offense had just four first downs in the second half of that game.

This Appalachian State team will have that same “no quit” mentality.

It’s a tough test for the opener. It’s also part of an extremely difficult opening month.

A good start against that schedule is just about a must. Just don’t overlook the Mountaineers from Boone.


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08/28/2012 02:15 AM


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