TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Tuesday, July 27,
McNeill at ease
as coach or diplomat
All rights reserved.
|(ECU SID image)
East Carolina first-year
football coach Ruffin McNeill had a story to tell at his first
Conference USA media day.
television station budgets don’t allow for a trip to Memphis in July.
Several colleagues were there, and the people that I talked to in the
media that covered the event in Memphis came away impressed.
McNeill is at ease with
people. That’s been his strength since day one after he took over for
Skip Holtz as the Pirates' head coach.
McNeill didn’t call Holtz
by name, but he credited the former coach and his program when speaking
to the media in Memphis.
“The one thing they have
done is that they have won,” said McNeill. “They have been successful.”
McNeill understands that
he’s lost a boatload of key players from those back-to-back Liberty Bowl
“We lost 28 football
players from that team,” he said. “And we lost a junior (Linval Joseph)
who is now with the Giants. That’s 28 pretty good football players that
aren’t on this team now. But I’m excited about the winning mentality
that was brought in. They have won.”
McNeill went deeper with
“As a coach you try to
instill that mentality (winning) into your football team," he said. "You
want them to expect to win. This team expects to win by past success.”
Several young players will
battle for starting spots when practice opens in a couple of weeks.
McNeill likes the youngsters' attitudes, which should pay dividends down
“We’ll have to replace
those 28 players with some young football players," he noted. "Those
young players tend to see the glass as half full. I’m looking forward to
seeing these guys take advantage of the opportunity in about a week or
so, to see how they’ve improved since the spring.”
Among the hot topics of
conversations at media day was the new Pirate offense. In fact, Pirate
receiver Dwayne Harris had perhaps the quote of the weekend.
"Coach Ruffin (McNeill),
he wants to pass first, pass second, pass third and maybe run fourth,”
The Texas Tech offense was
on the minds of several reporters.
“I like the skill set we
have,” said McNeill. “I like the skill guys we have. There are always
going to be some adjustments and we’ll have some of those as well.”
McNeill is big on
attitude, and he says he likes the way his squad has welcomed the new
“I like the way our guys
and our players have grasped our scheme and then gone out and worked on
it on their own," he said.
It certainly won’t be long
McNeill even cracked a
“It’s a great challenge, a
great task,” he said. “But it’ll be fun. I’m looking forward to it."
I think we all are!
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