TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Tuesday, August 17,
tripping up Pirates
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The word routine has a mundane sound to it.
Success with the “routine" plays, though, is a key to this high-powered
offensive attack at East Carolina.
The fact that the Pirates didn’t execute the routine at times on
Saturday was a major point of concern afterwards.
Saturday’s first football scrimmage at East Carolina was closed and
video cameras weren’t allowed.
I did get a chance to catch the last 90 minutes or so. Like everyone
else, I really wanted to see the battle for the quarterback position.
First year head coach Ruffin McNeill has said that the battle is down to
three candidates. Dominique Davis, Rio Johnson and Brad Wornick saw the
bulk of the action, though true freshman Shane Carden played late and
threw a touchdown pass.
This new Pirate offense is based on making routine plays. Every short
pass is designed to be executed in a way that the pass is just about
always completed. These passes are viewed as long handoffs by the
offense, and these plays are expected to have a high rate of execution.
That execution wasn’t there on Saturday. The offense apparently
peaked early, and the routine plays were a problem from the middle of
the scrimmage on.
“The whole key to it in my mind is making those routine plays,” said
Coach McNeill after Saturday’s work. “I’ve always thought that the team
that makes the most routine plays is the one that is the most
successful. There were some good plays. But the routine plays, those are
the ones that we have to get.”
None of the three quarterback candidates really stood out on Saturday.
Junior Dominique Davis still appears the favorite to win the job, but he
had his struggles late in this first scrimmage.
“I started off pretty hot in the beginning,” said Davis. “Then I think
we fell off from the middle on. I think I was trying to make too much
happen. I think we finished off well and that’s what really matters.”
Sophomore Brad Wornick came out of nowhere to
win the job in the spring.
He has a certain calmness about his play that will keep him in the
“I know it’s a three-quarterback race,” said Wornick. “I thought we all
went out there and did some good things at times. It didn’t go perfectly
Wornick welcomes the competition.
“We are all getting better, because of the competition at quarterback,”
Redshirt freshman Rio Johnson is bigger and stronger this year. His
touchdown pass to Lance Lewis was probably the highlight of this first
Johnson had the best stats on Saturday, completing 18 of 28 passes for
164 yards and the one touchdown.
“I missed a couple of those routine plays today that I make every day at
practice,” said Johnson. “We just have to keep working to get better.”
Coach McNeill also wanted to find some depth for his squad in this first
scrimmage. That’s why many of the starters didn’t play all that much.
They’ll get more work this week in the second scrimmage.
“I think we found some depth,” said McNeill. “We came in with a plan of
rotation in a methodical way. We found some guys that we know can help
us on offense and defense, especially up front. We’ll watch some film
and evaluate further, but I think we found some guys up front that
certainly will help us.”
Along the lines of making the “routine” plays were problems on third
down and penalties.
The Pirates were just 6-23 on third down conversions. Ten penalty
added to some of the frustrations.
“There’s nothing that we saw out there that we can’t fix at practice,”
said Coach McNeill.
Making the routine play will be the big theme as camp continues.
Pictures just don’t tell the story of how different Dowdy-Ficklen
Stadium looks with the addition of the 7,000 seats.
It is one of those things that you truly have to see to believe.
I can only imagine what it will look like when those 7,000 seats are
full, and what that will look like when the Pirate offense is driving
toward that end zone.
The high definition scoreboard is another aspect that you’ll have to
see to believe.
If the Pirates master the
routine over the next couple of weeks, the atmosphere at Dowdy-Ficklen
Stadium this season will be anything but routine.
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08/17/2010 03:05 AM