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One-on-One with the Pirates
, August 19, 2010

By Ron Cherubini

Q&A with Daniel Drake

By Ron Cherubini
All rights reserved.

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Last year, while inside linebacker Jeremy Groves was drawing the headlines en route to a Freshman All-America designation, another ILB was quietly having a pretty impressive East Carolina debut as well.

Daniel Drake, the transfer from Marshall, proved to be a reliable and consistent force alongside Grove at the Mike position. As defensive coordinator Brian Mitchell likes to say, Drake was a big-time plugger for the Pirates, showing a penchant for locking onto running backs and dropping them in the hole.

Though he has to deal with asthma flare-ups at times that can be debilitating, Drake has shown an uncanny ability to get himself back up to speed and in the lineup. He piled up 74 tackles and it could have been even more had it not been for the emergence of Kyle Tudor late in the season. In Drake, whether he starts or is a primary reserve, the Pirates have a tackling machine who gets the job and how it is to be done in the system.

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

Daniel Drake in action
(ECU SID photo)

One-on-One with Daniel Drake

Q: When you look around at the defensive players, are you seeing any differences from last year? What would you say the unit’s focus is this camp?

A: We all came into this year thinking that we have to continue to get better. Simple. We had a good year last year as a (defensive unit), but our record didn’t indicate it. We want the wins and so we are focused on getting better. The coaches demand that of us. We want to be a top-25 defense.

Q: Playing alongside Jeremy Grove, you and he formed a pretty good duo in the inside? What would you say the differences are between you and Grove?

A: Our jobs are basically the same — tackle the ball carrier. The coaches are expecting and requiring more of us this year. Last year, we were both first time starters and now we have a year under our belts, so the expectation is we shouldn’t make mistakes. The coaches demand that we are top notch every play. As far as me and Jeremy, we do have a good chemistry — he knows what I can do and I know what he can do. I think we are great duo.

Q: Got a little banged up last season and of course the asthma. How are you feeling in this camp and do you feel like you have a good handle on things heading into the season?

A: I am a lot more in shape this year which helps with my body and my overall health. My body is ready for the season. Fortunately we have so much depth inside that we have a rotation that I think will be very good with Kyle (Tudor) and Brandon (Williams). It will be like 40 snaps a game, which I think is great. Fresh bodies mean fewer mistakes.

Q: You see the guys on the defensive line every day working. Do they appear as good as advertised from your vantage point?

A: Oh, yeah. Those guys are beasts up there. I can see the difference from the work they did with Coach (Jeff) Connors. Those guys own the gaps. Coach C really put it on them and it shows — it is obvious.

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

A: I would have to (say) it is a toss-up between Cody Lyon and James Craig. You see, I can really relate to those guys because they are walk-ons just like I was. I have never seen two guys who work as hard as they do. And even if they don’t get in as much as other guys, it doesn’t keep them from putting in that level of work. They work hard and I know that both of them, when they get their chances, will be ready. I have big respect for them.

Q: What running back on our roster do you find hardest to get your hands on?

A: Michael Dobson. He has made great strides. He is a whole new guy out here. He is fast, keeps his feet moving, hits his cuts and goes. He has become a real challenge to get a good hit on him. I think he is going to have a great season.

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Ron Cherubini Archives

08/18/2012 07:38 PM


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