From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
By Brian Bailey
WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director

Stakes will be high in Cincinnati

Audio: Brian Bailey Show
The Brian Bailey Show airs on Pirate Radio 1250 on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. Brian's guest this week was ECU recruiting coordinator and inside receivers coach Donnie Kirkpatrick (left): Replay show...


Audio: Coach Ruff Weekly Presser

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill spoke with the media at his weekly press conference on Monday as the Pirates prepare to hit the road to face Cincinnati on Thursday (courtesy of Pirate Radio 1250; file photo): Select clip...


American Football Schedule

ECU at Cincinnati, 7 pm (ESPN2)


Tulsa at UCF, 8 pm (ESPN2)
Temple at Penn State, 12 pm (ESPN2)
Memphis at Tulane, 3:30 pm (ESPNU)
USF at SMU, 8 pm (CBSSN)
LAST WEEK'S AAC SCORES >>> ..... | Friday > Memphis 16, Temple 13 (ESPNU)  ..... | Saturday > Tulsa 38, SMU 28 (CBSSN) ..... Army 35, UConn 21 (CBSSN) ..... Tulane 31, Houston 24 (ESPNU) ..... | .....


Hard lesson learned the hard way

One game does not a season make, or so the saying goes. And in the strictest sense of the word, East Carolina’s season didn’t actually end as a result of last Saturday’s stunning, self-inflicted 20-10 loss at Temple.  ... More from Brett Friedlander...



Pirates regroup from Philly fumbles

Al Myatt

The 24-hour rule that serves as a buffer between games expired Sunday after East Carolina's 20-10 loss at Temple on Saturday. The span increased to 48 hours and then 72 hours before the Pirates finally got back on the practice field Wednesday. ... More from Al Myatt...



15 Questions for Terry Whisnant

Akeem Richmond may be gone but Terry Whisnant is set to continue East Carolina's outside shooting prowess. Whisnant transferred from Florida State after averaging 2.1 points and 7.7 minutes for a Seminoles team that won the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament his freshman year. His numbers at FSU improved to 5.2 points and 17.2 minutes as a sophomore when he made 35.6 percent of his 3-point tries. ... More from W.A. Myatt...

Pictured: ECU junior Terry Whisnant is ready for action after sitting out a year under NCAA transfer rules. The Cherryville native played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Florida State. His skill at shooting from long range is expected to be a key asset for the Pirates as they make their debut in the American Athletic Conference. (ECU Media Relations photo)




Inside Game Day | Coach Ruff Post-game Audio...

AAC SCOREBOARD >>> ..... | Friday > Memphis 40, Tulsa 20 (ESPNU) ..... Cincinnati 38, Tulane 14 (ESPN2) ..... | Saturday > Temple 20, ECU 10 (ESPNN) ..... UConn 37, UCF 29 (CBSSN) ..... Houston 27, USF 3 (ESPNN) ..... .....

Owls become Temple of Doom

Al Myatt

PHILADELPHIA — The statistics told a convoluted tale after 60 minutes of college football at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, on Saturday. When East Carolina outgains an opponent 432 to 135 in total yardage, the assumption would be that the Pirates won handily. ... More from Al Myatt...

CHILLY PHILLY: Fans were sparse on Saturday at the East Carolina-Temple game in dreary Philadelphia. Road games before meager crowds have typically created a difficult environment for the Pirates to perform well, a scenario that was punctuated as the Owls took advantage of penalties and weather-assisted turnovers to deal ECU its first American Athletic Conference loss in the cold, rainy conditions at Lincoln Financial Field. The announced attendance at the 69,176-seat home of the NFL's Eagles was 22,130. [Al Myatt photo]

Audio: Ruff Post-game

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill spoke with the press after the Pirates' upset loss to Temple on Saturday (recorded by Al Myatt; file photo): Select audio clip...

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

View ECU's 2014 football schedule


It’s time for the East Carolina Pirates to crank it up again.

It’s time for that high flying offense to take flight.

It’s time for that defense to create turnovers and give the offense a short field.

It’s time to finish strong. With four games to go, despite the loss to Temple, there is plenty to play for.

It all starts on Thursday night in Cincinnati. It certainly won’t be easy, but it’s time.

I don’t think we’ve seen the best of this ECU football team as of yet. Maybe the pressure to win out was too much. Maybe the outside noise was too loud.

The loss at Temple hurt everyone, especially the head Pirate.

“It hurt me in three ways. It hurt me as a former student, a former player and as a coach,” said coach Ruffin McNeill. “It hurt us all. That’s life, and now we have to get back at it and turn it around.”

Fumbles and penalties doomed the Pirate cause in Philadelphia. They were points of emphasis during the open week.

Ruff and Company invited referees out to work several practices as the team looks to correct those mistakes.

The Pirates are the third most penalized team in the nation. That’s certainly not indicative of what McNeill wants in his program.

“With the eighth official, what they watch for are holds,” he explained at his weekly news conference on Monday [Replay news conference audio...]. “If the defender’s body gets outside of the body’s framework, that’s what they’re calling holding. How do you prevent that? Move your feet a little better and lower your pad level.”

The amount of laundry on the field against the Pirates has really irked McNeill over the last month.

“Last week, I talked to Jim Mora at UCLA and Art (Briles) at Baylor, and they’ve been having a lot of holding calls against their teams as well,” said McNeill. “Penalties have almost quadrupled since 2013, so it’s not just here in Greenville. I’m not sure if it’s the high-paced teams or what. We’re making sure the kids are getting more repetitions because the more the get, the better they’re getting and that’s the approach we’ve taken.”

The penalties have also been frustrating for quarterback Shane Carden.

“We just have to really stress the fundamentals,” said Carden. “We have worked very hard to try and get back to where we aren’t penalized.”

Four AAC teams enter play in this second week of November with just one conference loss. It may not be a national semifinal, but this ECU-Cincinnati game could be an elimination game for the league. Central Florida and Memphis are also in the one-loss column.

“This is a big game,” said McNeill. “Before we get to the game, we have to make sure we have a great week of practice. Cincinnati is tough, athletic and well coached. Just like the other games we’ve played, this is a very competitive league and we knew that before we came in. We’re looking forward to that challenge.”

That challenge will be a little less stressful if the Pirates can hold onto the football and stay away from the yellow hankies.

That, of course, will be easier said than done on the road. Add in the colder weather and the challenge intensifies.

“The last time we had a really cold week of practice was the week heading into the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C.,” said McNeill. “We haven’t pulled out cold gear in a long time. We’re prepared for that. The wind and rain surprised us a little bit, but the other team played in the same weather. With the change of time, we’ve been able to get night practices in, so we’re looking forward to that challenge.”


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11/11/2014 03:19 AM