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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

By Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

Smith is the right man for the job


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Brian BaileyReplay Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW. Brian's topic was this week's Pitt-Greenville Hot Stove League banquet. His guests were Hot Stove League president Chuck Humphrey, historian Dr. Jimmy Grimsley and banquet speaker, Washington Nationals organization pitching coach Sam Narron. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night from 6:30-7:30 on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930.
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Smith is the right man for the job
Audio: WTIB (TOT: Scott Anders)
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Web Headlines Roundup
Pirates run aground in West Virginia
Audio: Coach Ruff press conference
Audio: Rick Smith press conference
Pirates look to Smith to head up defense
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Post-game audio: Coach Jeff Lebo
Post-game audio: Coach James Dickey
Post-game audio: Maurice Kemp, Akeem Richardson
Last stand for Big East
Pirates hijack UCF in OT thriller
Tigers prevail in tale of two halves
Fifteen Questions for Terry Holland
ECU Football Game-by-Game
ECU Basketball Schedule
ECU Recruiting Year-by-Year

By Brian Bailey
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Rick Smith broke down when he met the media on Friday afternoon.

“This is home to us,” Smith said. “I honestly believe. I am a Christian and it’s a miracle.”

[Select and replay Friday's press conference in a new window...]

Those of us that had the pleasure of working with Rick Smith before know that he is an absolute straight shooter. If you ask him a question, he will give you a straight answer.

He doesn’t sugarcoat anything and he’ll let you know his feeling on any subject.

According to those close to the program, the original plan was to get both former defensive coordinator Greg Hudson and Rick Smith back on the defensive staff. Hudson turned the Pirates down to go to Purdue, while Smith was quick to accept the defensive coordinator position.

Hudson and Smith complimented one another well on Skip Holtz’s staff during those Conference USA title seasons. They had also worked well together in different roles at Cincinnati.

“Coach Hudson got me here (at ECU) with Coach Holtz,” said Smith. “Greg and I did the same thing we did when I was a coordinator at Cincinnati. I think it’s a great opportunity for me. I’m riding in here on my white horse so I hope I walk out of here on my white horse.”

Personally, I see Rick Smith as a better fit with head coach Ruffin McNeill then Greg Hudson would have been. I certainly liked working with Coach Hud, who has a great way with the players. Hud and Holtz had personality clashes at times, though, and I think the same would have happened with McNeill.

I don’t see that at all with Rick Smith. Smith is a ball coach with little ego. He works with defensive backs. Defensive backs have to have short memories for sure.

There was a time in his career when Coach Smith thought about getting out of coaching.

“I was burned out a little bit,” said Smith. “Then an amazing thing happened. I went over and coached in NFL Europe. I just went back and coached the four guys that I love, the defensive backs. Over in Germany I didn’t know what the press was saying because I can’t read German, so I got my passion back for coaching football.”

Ruffin McNeill is certainly glad to have Smith on board.

“I did a thorough search. It was not a quick decision. It was going to be a methodical one. I pulled my own contacts that I have from the collegiate level and professional ranks and when I met Rick in person it was a clear cut decision to bring Rick Smith here. “We’re happy to have him back.”

Smith says he’ll be multiple with his defensive scheme. Anything and everything that adds up to eleven will certainly be in play.

“Somebody mentioned 4-3,” said Smith. “Four-three was here before the 4-4; that’s how old I am. Bud Wilkinson’s the one who invented it. It’s just the Oklahoma defense. I don’t know how to coach a 4-3. I know how to coach a 4-4.

"I don’t believe you can do just one thing. You can’t line up in one front because they’ll put a beat on you. You can’t line up in one coverage. We are going to be multiple.

“Whatever we do we are going to be good.”

Smith has a great saying.

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery,” he said with a smile.

Pirate Nation hopes the defensive mystery has been solved.

“I will bust my butt,” Smith concluded.

The Pirate defense is already better.


E-mail Brian Bailey.

Brian Bailey Archives

01/21/2013 10:26 PM


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