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BAILEY'S TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS

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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

By Brian Bailey

Ruff girds Pirates for triple option

BRAIN BAILEY SHOW

Replay Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW, featuring ECU outside linebackers coach DUANE PRICE. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930.
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ITEMS OF INTEREST

Ruff girds Pirates for triple option
Audio: Ruffin McNeill Game Week Presser
Realignment game gets new dynamic
BCS Standings
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Alliance engages Big East in chess match
 

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C-USA Standings

East Division

SCHOOL

C-USA

ALL

Marshall
ECU
USM
UCF
Memphis
UAB

2-1
2-1
1-1
1-1
0-3
0-3

3-4
2-4
5-1
3-3
1-6
0-6

West Division

SCHOOL

C-USA

ALL

SMU
Houston
Tulsa
UTEP
Rice
Tulane

3-0
2-0
2-0
1-2
1-2
1-2

5-1
6-0
3-3
3-3
2-4
2-5

Scoreboard & Schedule

By Brian Bailey
©2011 Bonesville.net
All rights reserved.

Still smarting a tad after an embarrassing loss to Houston, but with newfound confidence from Memphis, East Carolina heads to Annapolis.

Itís not quite the same Navy team the Pirates saw last season. But itís the same offensive style. Thatís the one that caused so many problems for the ECU defense a year ago.

If you thought Houston was a devastating loss two weeks ago, it pales in comparison to the beat down Navy put on the purple last year. The Middies put a Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium record number of points on the board, turning that purple into black and blue.

Navy piled up 521 yards of offense and scored 8 touchdowns in that 76-35 ECU loss at home. Four third quarter fumbles were the difference. Navy ran downhill all afternoon in the route.

The Pirates take a 2-4 record to Maryland after Saturday nightís 35-17 win over a bad Memphis football team. That same bad Memphis football team actually led East Carolina after two quarters.

I donít know just what panic button Coach Ruffin McNeill pushed at halftime, but something jumpstarted this Pirate football team. All of a sudden the defense was creating a turnover, and the offense was making big plays.

Finally, Pirate football had returned to East Carolina.

Hopefully, Dominique Davis has some of his swagger back. Davis had a field day last year in the ECU loss to Navy. He was 43-65 for 413 yards and five touchdowns against the Midshipmen. Itís hard to believe the Pirates not only lost, but were blown out.

As for the Memphis win, McNeill said last week his team needed some success. They got it with a strong second half.

"I thought it was a great program win for us Saturday,Ē said McNeill with his opening comments at Mondayís weekly news conference. [Replay press conference audio...] "Our team and coaches were very excited and enthusiastic for the game. It started last week in our physical and mental preparation. Both groups, players and coaches, did a very good job of preparing for the game.

"We've done a great job of preparing all year I think. Saturday, it clearly carried over into the game.Ē

That preparation will need to carry over again this week. Defending the Navy option is very difficult. Itís assignment football and discipline will certainly be tested.

"With this offense, we have to make sure we have guys focused on each possibility ó the dive, the quarterback and the pitch,Ē explained McNeill. ďIt's assignment football. We'll have to put a special eye on (fullback Alexander) Teich regardless.Ē

McNeill mentioned that he got a call from former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, who also has a Super Bowl ring with the Dallas Cowboys, this week. McNeill agrees with Switzer that guys have to know their assignments, execute their responsibilities, and probably most important, tackle well and swarm to the football.

The Middies are an early 10-point favorite for their homecoming game. Itís always special when you get to see one of the service academies, knowing that these players have much more than football on their minds.

East Carolina can certainly win if it protects the football, preferably even better than it did in the win over Memphis.

Last year, four fumbles and a couple of fullback jaunts across Bagwell Field wrecked the Pirate party.

The ECU defense, which was dead last in the nation last year, is currently 65th nationally in total defense. Itís not where Ruffin McNeill wants it to be, but itís still light years ahead of last yearís numbers.
But that improved defense will certainly be tested this week by the triple option.

Itís assignment football. Itís difficult because itís different. Preparation will be key if the Pirates hope to come home from Annapolis with their third win of the season.

BB

E-mail Brian Bailey.

Brian Bailey Archives

10/18/2011 03:56 AM

 

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