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One-on-One with the Pirates
, August 30, 2011

By Ron Cherubini

Q&A with Cliff Perryman

By Ron Cherubini
All rights reserved.

When Cliff Perryman came into the East Carolina football program, he was seen as a lock for the role of a future starting linebacker. Athletic, good size and good football smarts. He had a good freshman debut, but then injuries began. As a sophomore, he was moved to end, and then as a junior… he sort of faded into the woodwork. As a senior, in his last campaign, Perryman – fully healthy for the first time in his career – has it down. He is a leader on a defense short on it. He can play multiple positions and he has a renewed spirit. He is completely immersed in the defensive scheme and has earned a role on this defensive unit.

While Perryman may not be a starter, you will see plenty of him on the field, working mostly at outside linebacker but sometimes inside, depending on need. He appears to be ready to finish his career with the same fanfare he engendered as a freshman those years ago.

Ciff was kind enough to sit down for a chat with Bonesville to share his insights on the upcoming season.

Cliff Perryman (40) in action (ECU SID photo)

One-on-One with Cliff Perryman

Q: You had such a good debut as a young player back in your freshman season and then, the injuries started. Last season, it seemed, you were kind of lost in the transition from the previous staff to this one. Then, the coaches say, you had an incredibly productive spring and are positioned to be a big part of this defense in 2011. Can you talk about your journey?

A: I am excited about this year. I did have a good spring and really, it was the first real spring camp I have participated in since I got here. I’ve had three surgeries since I started playing football at East Carolina and really, this past spring was just exciting for me. In all honesty, I think last season, you’re right, I was kind of lost. Looking back, I’m not sure I bought into the new program all the way last year. I am really buying into this defense this year and I am having the best camp I have ever had and the (successful spring) definitely carried over into this fall. Ron, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this year.

Q: Coach Brian Mitchell has stated that you are a guy who can and will play both inside and outside for his defense this season. Do you have a preference about where you line up?

A: I can play both positions and I think I can help at both and I am prepared to play both positions. But, I have been getting a lot more reps at outside linebacker (in fall) than inside. I did get a lot of work inside in the spring. I am comfortable in either position and I understand what to do at both.

Q: You mentioned how healthy you feel this year. Can you talk a little about how Coach Jeff Connors has impacted you and your teammates?

A: I am in the best shape of my life right now. I feel like I have gotten so much stronger in the past four months than, really, I did during the previous years working out. I am not rehabbing anything… no treatments… this is a new and great experience for me out here and Coach Connors had a lot to do with it. You can see (the impact) with every guy on this team that has bought into the program.

Q: The defensive coaches have remarked that you emerged as a leader in spring and that it has carried over to this fall camp. Is that a designation you are comfortable with?

A: I think leadership is important and, of course, I have been in the program for a long time so it was kind of expected some, I think. I like being seen as a leader and if the guys look to me for that, it is an honor. I try to lead by a little bit vocally and a lot by example.

Q: Can you talk about some of the younger linebackers that need to step up and might be able to make a name for themselves this season?

A: We have a lot of great young linebackers. Starting with Justin Dixon – yes, he is still a young linebacker. He’s just a sophomore but he is already a great talent for us. Marke Powell is young, too, a junior… he is… well… he is something else out there. But also, we have a true freshman, Montese Overton, that I think will play this season. He is good and will help this defense tremendously here at ECU.

Q: What player on this team do you most respect and why?

A: I respect all of my teammates… they all deserve it. If I had to pick on player, I would say my man ED (Emanuel Davis). Emanuel is a guy who has started since he was a freshman. He has overcome adversity… he fights through things and never, never quits. When he makes a mistake, he admits it, he does what he should and to me, that is a sign of great character. I admire him and respect him a lot.

Q: As a linebacker working against our offense, you are getting an interactive look at the running back battle. Any insights from your perspective?

A: Today, right now, I would have to say it’s Reggie Bullock. He is older and more experienced and it shows. He is real explosive… quick out of his cuts and breaks, physical… he is there and then… he’s gone. Michael Dobson has been waiting his turn here and learned, I think, from playing behind Jon (Williams) and Giavanni (Ruffin) and he is in the competition right now. Also, we have a redshirt freshman – Alex Owah – who is pretty exciting to watch and has impressed me so far (this camp). It is a pretty good competition out there.

E-mail Ron Cherubini

Ron Cherubini Archives

08/30/2011 04:25 AM


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