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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

By Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

Open date allowed Pirates to rejuvenate


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Open date allowed Pirates to rejuvenate
Audio: Coach Ruff Monday Presser
Conference USA Players of the Week
Audio: WTIB (TOT: Tom Campbell)
Spied from the Crow's Nest
Web Headlines Roundup
Offensive evolution aids defense
Denny O'Brien's Harris BCS Poll Ballot
This Week's BCS Standings
This Week's Harris, AP & USA Today Polls
C-USA Football Standings
Kemp, newcomers power Pirates in tip-off
ECU 2012-13 Basketball Schedule
This Week in College Football History
Open date, not an off week
Audio: WTIB (Steve Logan Show)
The returns are in – let the games begin
Football Recruiting Thumbnail: Marquise Whidbee
Riley kept Cougars guessing
Heart, not legacy, swayed Jones to ECU
ECU Football Schedule
ECU Basketball Schedule
Year-by-Year Recruiting

By Brian Bailey
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East Carolina football coach Ruffin McNeill says the bye week came at a good time.

Several players spent the off week healing, gearing up for what the Pirates hope is a strong run to end the season. ECU visits Tulane this weekend and then hosts Marshall on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving.

"Our open date came at a great time for our football team,” said McNeill at his Monday news conference. “We needed the time to rest both mentally and physically.

"We still worked throughout the week and had three days of practice and four days of lifting. The team took the opportunity to catch-up on some treatments and of course their classroom work. We dove into Tulane and exposed the team a little bit to some of the things that they like to do.”

Coach Ruff also made it official that quarterback Rio Johnson was leaving the program. Many around the team had said that Johnson wasn’t the same after he lost the starting quarterback job to Shane Carden. Carden has shown no signs of giving the job back, so perhaps Johnson saw the writing on the wall.

"Rio Johnson has decided to leave the program and the team,” explained McNeill. “He left on good standing with us. Rio came and met with Lincoln (Riley) and me about his decision. We wish him the best and we will try to help him in any way that we can.”

McNeill began his weekly presser by saying that football seasons simply fly by. I think this one has been an absolute blur. It may be that I’m just getting older, but this season feels like it just really started.

With Central Florida needing two losses in their last two games to move East Carolina into the Conference USA title game, the Pirates' concerns are on the two final games, and then the bowl trip.

Ruff also touched on former ECU star Dwayne Harris’s big play this weekend. Harris sparked the Dallas Cowboys to a much needed win with a 78-yard punt return. For Harris, it was his first touchdown as a pro.

"That was cool,” commented Coach Ruff. “I saw the replay of the return by Dwayne for the Cowboys, and I say they should play him all the time. He is the best player on the team. Number 17 can play!”

Ruff continued.

“I called his brother, Derrick, who also wears 17 for us, over at practice and was giving him a hard time about what 'Big 17' had just done for the Cowboys, and teased him about what he was going to do for us.

"I am very proud of Dwayne and how he carries himself. The Cowboys could look very smart by putting him in the game and giving him the ball as many times as they can."

Pirate hoops off to good start

East Carolina is 3-0 in basketball going into tonight's game with Methodist. The ECU women have two of those wins, having beaten William & Mary on the road on Friday and then blowing out St. Andrews on Sunday.

The ladies got off to a quick start in their Sunday game and rolled to an 84-41 victory. Katie Pascual was the only Pirate in double figures with 11 points. Everybody got into the act in win number two for Heather Macy and her program.

The Pirate men made short work of Washington & Lee to start their season. The men limped away from their first win, after several Pirate players came off with a variety of injuries. The most serious of those appeared to be when freshman Mike Zangari rolled his ankle shortly after scoring the first basket of his college career.

Zangari will be out of the lineup when ECU hosts Methodist tonight. Also out of action will be Miguel Paul, who will sit out the second game of a two-game suspension for breaking team rules.

The Pirates will be looking for their second win in their matchup with the Monarchs tonight. ECU continues the home stand when UNC-Greensboro visits on Friday.

It's a busy start but a welcome one for Pirate coach Jeff Lebo.

"I think the guys like it," said Lebo. “I know we all like playing a different color jersey.”


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11/13/2012 09:30 AM


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