College Sports in the Carolinas
from the East
Saturday, December 20, 2003
By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News &
Rimpf takes shot at big time
Brian Rimpf has played his last game in the purple and gold
of East Carolina but has one more game remaining on the college level.
Rimpf signed with an agent on Sunday and traveled to New
Orleans on Tuesday with wife Lauren to begin training with fitness trainer
Tom Shaw in preparation for showcasing his abilities for pro scouts.
Rimpf will play in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 24 at Ladd-Peebles
Stadium in Mobile, Ala. The three-time All-Conference USA selection plans to
attend the NFL combine in Indianapolis, Ind., in late February and also work
out for pro scouts at ECU during Pirates "pro days" in March.
Some of the basic numbers on Rimpf: Height: 6-6; Weight, 316.
Most recent 40-yard time, 5.27 seconds (spring, 2003); bench press maximum,
400 pounds; squat maximum, 660 pounds.
Pro scouts will be adding to their own files on the former
ECU tackle in the coming months.
This will be Rimpf's third football trip to Mobile. He was a
true freshman in 1999 and got to make the trip as a redshirt when the
Pirates played Texas Christian in the inaugural Mobile Bowl. The Pirates
returned to Mobile in 2001 to play Marshall in the postseason.
"The big thing is working out and trying to get faster and
stronger between now and the Senior Bowl," Rimpf said Friday. "My agent said
this is the first big test, an important game to show pro scouts and coaches
some of my ability. Practice is really a big deal with all the scouts
Rimpf chose Joel Segal of New York as his agent. He was
introduced to Segal by ECU graduate assistant Larry Shannon, who was also
represented by Segal during his pro career.
The Senior Bowl teams are guided by NFL coaches. After the
game in Mobile, Rimpf's training focus will shift to preparing for the
specific skills measured at the combine in Indianapolis.
Rimpf is supposed to meet a nutritionist next week, who will
advise him on a diet that will decrease his percentage of body fat.
That may mean fewer helping of Lauren's specialty, cheesy
chicken, at the couple's one-bedroom apartment in New Orleans. The Rimpfs
will be in Raleigh for the holidays. Lauren will continue her education at
ECU next semester in Greenville and will make some trips to New Orleans,
where Brian will be living and working out.
"I hope to take an online course that will help me towards my
MBA," said Rimpf, who graduated with a degree in business last May.
Rimpf went through a coaching transition before his senior
year. J.B. Grimes replaced Steve Shankweiler as his offensive line coach.
"Coach Grimes had a little different style and I learned some
new stuff," Rimpf said. "Maybe that will help me next year because I'll have
to adjust to a new coach no matter where I go. Getting used to a new coach —
maybe that proved I'm coachable. A lot of guys at the next level look for
Besides Rimpf, ECU's offensive front loses a number of
significant players. Doug White, Corey Schmidt, Brian Fox and Brandon Pope
have all completed their eligibility.
Rimpf is confident that ECU can continue the work in the
trenches that has produced three different 1,000-plus yard rushers the last
"Charlie Dempsey has a lot of experience," Rimpf said. "And
Hagen Mason is back. They still should be good. There is talent even if
there isn't a lot of experience. The new guys need to work hard but I look
for them to block well and play well."
Junior college transfers Willie Metcalf, a tight end from
Pima College in Tucson, Ariz., and big offensive lineman Joel Renaud of
Reedley (Cal.) College were signed this week to bolster the blocking. ECU
also announced the signing of defensive back Zach Baker from Pima.
Connors not a candidate
Jeff Connors has been at North Carolina for three seasons
now, directing football strength and conditioning for the Tar Heels. During
that span, ECU, where he served as head of strength and conditioning prior
to moving to Chapel Hill, has remained close to his heart.
He even joined the Pirate Club last season and made a $500
But don't look for Connors to consider returning to ECU
despite the announcement this week that the Pirates will hire a strength and
conditioning coach primarily for football. He also said former Pirate
standout linebacker Jeff Kerr, who has assisted Connors at UNC, is probably
not ready for such an assignment.
Pirate Club executive director Dennis Young said it's been
exciting to see the level of interest in the Virtual Bowl, the idea of Doug
Groome of Charlotte to raise money for the Pirate Club by selling bowl
tickets — even though the Pirates didn't achieve bowl eligibility in 2003.
Young said the Pirate Club has adjusted its thresholds to
realistic levels in response to the purchases of Virtual Bowl tickets. If
5,000 tickets are sold, commemorative bowl tickets will be printed. If
10,000 are sold, Young will get his head shaved and Matt "Big Guy" Maloney
will get a Mohawk haircut at halftime of an actual Virtual Bowl event.
WITN-TV 7 showed enhanced pictures on its morning show on
Friday of what Young and Maloney would look like if the promotion reaches
the 10,000 plateau.
Young said that as of late Friday afternoon that about 400
tickets had been purchased at 30 bucks a pop.
"It's a great statement," Young said. "I know a lot of teams
are struggling to sell bowl tickets. It we can sell tickets and not go to a
bowl, that says a lot."
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