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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, October 30, 2012

By Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

Pirates hang on to rollercoaster ride


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Pirates hang on to rollercoaster ride
Audio: Coach Ruff Monday Presser
Conference USA Players of the Week
Audio: WTIB (Toys for Tots Dance Fundraiser)
Spied from the Crow's Nest
Web Headlines Roundup
Ruff, staff treading tricky waters
This Week's BCS Standings
This Week's Harris, AP & USA Today Polls
Game Center: Navy 56, ECU 28
Inside Game Day: Navy stars in 'That '70s Show'
Game Day Photo Gallery
Audio: Coach Ruff Post-game
Greg's Game Day Breakdown
This Week in College Football History
Game Day Radar Loop & Weather Notes
Kevin's Keys to the Game
WTIB Audio Replay: Steve Logan Show
ECU Football Schedule
Year-by-Year Recruiting

By Brian Bailey
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Last week the Pirates finally put together back-to-back wins. Three in a row was apparently just asking too much. The rollercoaster ride that has been the 2012 football season took a nasty nosedive as East Carolina fell to Navy 56-28.

The loss was eerily similar to the one against Navy at home two years ago, when the Middies put 76 points on the scoreboard. That team gutted the Pirates up the middle.

This time Navy went wide, with a plethora of running backs and an outstanding young quarterback, and once again rushed for over 500 yards on the Bagwell Field turf.

The Pirates played like they had never seen the option.

“It’s embarrassing,” said ECU safety Chip Thompson. “But we put a lot of work on the option throughout the year. It certainly didn’t show though.”

While I think the Pirates did put in plenty of work on the option, I came away from Saturday night’s game convinced that ECU never caught up to the speed of Navy's flavor of the option. It literally looked like the Pirates were outmanned on the edge on every rushing attempt.

“We could have done a better job on the perimeter,” said East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill after the loss. “We knew we would have to shed a block and make a tackle, and that just didn’t happen tonight.”

Damon Magazu agreed.

“Our scout team gave us good looks on the option, but you just can’t duplicate that speed,” he said.

Coach McNeill may have said it best with his opening statement in Saturday night's post-game presser.

“The 24-hour rule is in effect, and this time it may be shorter then that — I’m glad this game is over,” McNeill said. [Select and replay audio clip of Saturday's post-game presser in a new window...]

That “24-hour” rule in the program is an understanding within the team that the previous game, be it a win or a loss, would only be discussed for a day. I’m not sure how strictly it is enforced, but I would say the team needs to put this loss in the past quickly.

Coach Ruff could have added in those postgame comments that he was glad the series was over, at least for now. Navy put up 76, 35 and 56 points against the Pirates in three games. Somehow, the Pirates won the middle game in Annapolis, when they at least slowed down the option attack.

It was like a freight train coming through this time though.

McNeill has a saying that you don’t let one loss beat you twice. East Carolina dives back into Conference USA play this week, as Houston comes to town.

The Cougars have also seen their share of ups and downs this season. Houston comes to town as a 3-point favorite.

“I am looking forward to the game against Houston,” said McNeill at his weekly press conference on Monday. [Select and replay audio clip of Monday presser in a new window...] “It’s tough to take a loss like we did to Navy, because of the amount of work that we put into it, but that is what needs to be done.

"I am not a good loser, but at same time I know we still have plenty of yearly goals that we can accomplish and my job is to make sure our team realizes that. We have Houston coming in to Greenville this weekend and we need to, and expect to play well.

"I was pleased and proud of the way we approached our business (Sunday) night (at practice). I thought (Sunday) night’s practice was very sharp.”

The Pirates know the season is all of a sudden on the line. One win and the Pirates become bowl eligible. Three wins and the squad goes bowling with a most respectable 8-4 mark.

November will write the regular season's final chapter for these 2012 Pirates.


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10/30/2012 01:57 AM


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