Tag:Ruffin McNeill
Posted on: September 10, 2011 7:12 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 7:17 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 11 Virginia Tech 17, ECU 10

Posted by Chip Patterson

VIRGINIA TECH WON. Head coach Frank Beamer picked up his 200th victory as the Hokies' head coach as Virginia Tech held off a tough East Carolina team in Greenville, scoring the only fourth quarter touchdown and winning 17-10.

WHY VIRGINIA TECH WON: The Hokies overcame 12 penalties and a pair of turnovers with a punishing ground game and stout defense. David Wilson ran for 138 yards, quarterback Logan Thomas added 66, and Josh Oglesby did the finishing with 43 yards and two touchdowns. The Hokies passing game struggled, with Thomas completing less than half of his attempts for less yards (91) than they picked up with the 12 penalties (92).

WHEN VIRGINIA TECH WON: With both offenses sputtering for the entire third quarter, the Hokies pieced together their best drive of the game to open up the final period of play. Thomas, Wilson, and Oglesby ran the ball on 11 of the 13 plays that chewed up 89 yards and nearly seven minutes of game clock. The drive was pounding and methodical, and the Pirates were noticeably fatigued by the time Oglesby punched in the winning score.

WHAT VIRGINIA TECH WON: Beamer admitted after the game that his team was unprepared for the Pirates. Some coaches try and "learn from losses," but any coach would prefer to learn from a bad win. There are ways the Hokies can improve on the offensive line and in the passing game, and now they have 60 minutes of tape to identify the specific weaknesses and try to get them fixed.

WHAT EAST CAROLINA LOST The Pirates scratched and clawed for every advantage all afternoon. They will have a week off before starting the conference schedule against UAB on Sept. 24. Ruffin McNeill's team has played two ranked teams (South Carolina and Virginia Tech) close, and if they can use these games as building blocks they should have a shot at winning the conference.

THAT WAS CRAZY. With 2:10 remaining, ECU quarterback Dominique Davis hit Michael Bowman on a 10 yard out route near the sideline. Hokies CB Kyle Fuller made an aggressive play on the ball and missed. Bowman bobbled the pass near the sideline as he tried to turn upfield, dropping it for an incomplete pass. Because of Fuller's play, if Bowman holds on to the ball he has nothing but green down the sideline and a shot to tie the game at 17. The Pirates didn't exactly make the most of their next two attempts either, but in a game that was played so close it will be hard to look back at that near catch and run
Posted on: August 30, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 4:11 pm
 

Could CB Auguste's injury hurt Gamecocks vs. ECU?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

During Monday night's South Carolina practice, starting corner Akeem Auguste reaggravated a left foot injury. Per CBSSports.com RapidReporter Josh Kendall, Auguste will now come off the bench in the Gamecocks' Saturday season opener against East Carolina--if he plays at all.

Starting in Auguste's place will be senior and part-time 2010 starter C.C. Whitlock, with the Gamecock's top backups in the event of Auguste's absence projected to be senior (and former walk-on) Marty Markett and redshirt freshman Cadarious Sanders. A former track athlete, Markett has one start in his two seasons on the Gamecock football team, while Sanders was one of the lower-profile additions to Carolina's 2010 class.

If the 'Cocks were opening their season against any random FCS or Sun Belt tomato can, nothing that was going on in the Gamecock secondary would matter. Even if they were opening against most Conference USA teams, or some lower-rung BCS squad, it wouldn't matter. But against the Pirates? It could matter.

It's not likely to, of course; South Carolina is a legitimate top-20 team and ECU -- 6-7 a year ago with a defense ranked dead last in FBS total defense -- is most certainly not.

But thanks to that ailing Carolina secondary, the Pirates could present the Gamecocks with a stiff challenge all the same. ECU's (newly slimmed-down) head coach is Ruffin McNeill, a former defensive coordinator under Mike Leach at Texas Tech, and McNeill's offensive coordinator is Lincoln Riley, a former Tech wide receivers coach and devoted Leach protege. So it wasn't a surprise when their 2010 Pirate offense was as close to Leach's old Air Raid as it was possible to get, throwing more often than any other team in the country, turning quarterback Dominique Davis into the country's fourth-leading passer, and receivers Dwayne Harris and Lance Lewis into a matched pair of 1,100-yard receivers.

Now Riley, Davis, Lewis, and two other players with 40-plus receptions* are all back for another go-round--meaning that they might present matchup problems for South Carolina even if Auguste wasn't injured. The Gamecock secondary was quietly the team's Achilles heel last season, ranking 97th in pass defense and a scarcely-better 87th in opponent's quarterback rating. And even those numbers might have been generous to the Carolina secondary, which had the good fortune of playing alongside the nation's fifth-most potent pass rush. In short: whenever opposing quarterbacks had time to throw against the 2010 'Cocks, they found plenty of success.

And ECU's system -- as with Leach's before it -- is structured in such a way that their quarterback always has time. Despite their nation-leading number of attempts, the Pirates still finished in the FBS top-20 in sacks allowed, giving one up just once every 50 dropbacks. Gamecock defensive line coach Brad Lawing took notice:
"You can’t sack them,” Lawing said. “He just catches it and throws it, catches it and throws it. You can’t get there. It’s just not going to happen. You could have Lawrence Taylor up there five times and you can’t get there.”
So ... if the Gamecock pass rush won't matter ... and the Gamecock secondary can't keep up ... what happens?

What happens is that South Carolina wins going away 9 times out of 10, maybe 95 times out of 100. The Pirates have no answer for the likes of Marcus Lattimore or Alshon Jeffery, no way to handle the size Carolina offers up front, no way to avoid wearing down in the face of the Gamecocks' superior depth. We're not suggesting an upset is imminent, not when the Gamecocks have the firepower to match every score the Pirates put on the board and then some. Even the secondary concerns may be overblown--while we don't feel Stephen Gilmore has been an All-SEC caliber player (for the reasons listed above), having him, Whitlock, and fellow returning starter D.J. Swearinger back must lead to some improvement.

That said--if Stephen Garcia has one of his occasional space-case performances? If Connor Shaw isn't ready for his close-up? And Davis and the Pirate wideouts begin abusing Auguste's replacements? And the game remains close into the third or even fourth quarters, and the favored Gamecocks can't find their mojo in Charlotte's neutral-site venue? This being the 1 time out of 10 isn't impossible.

*Though one of those players won't see the field Saturday.



Posted on: August 9, 2011 6:24 pm
 

PHOTO: Ruffin McNeill's impressive weight loss

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It wasn't exactly a state secret that East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill spent last season dealing with a weight problem. During his first campaign at the Pirate helm last fall, McNeill spent most of practice on a golf cart, saying at last week's Conference USA Media Days that the pain of simply walking through drills was "excruciating."

But after two offseason surgeries and more than 120 pounds dropped from his peak of 388, McNeill is back on his feet--moving "like a ninja" at the Pirates' first practice, he jokingly told the local Daily Reflector. But what does a 120-pound weight loss look like on a college head football coach? Here's McNeill coaching from the sidelines last fall:



And courtesy of the ECU athletic department, here's McNeill at Tuesday's Pirate practice:



McNeill would be the first to tell you he's not all the way there yet. "My brother said 'You've lost a fourth-grader,'" McNeil said at Media Days. "I said 'Well, I'm trying to get to where I lost a sixth-grader.'"

From here, it looks like he's off to a heck of a start.

Posted on: June 21, 2011 6:32 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 6:40 pm
 

East Carolina suspends two seniors for opener

Posted by Chip Patterson

After a run-in with local police, two East Carolina football players have been suspended for the Pirates' season-opener against South Carolina on Sept. 3.

Wide receiver Michael Bowman and cornerback Emanuel Davis were arrested over the weekend in Greenville. Bowman's charges include disorderly conduct and resisting a public officer; Davis was charged with being intoxicated and disruptive in public while also resisting a public officer. Both players are seniors, and will conduct 25 hours of community service in addition to the one-game suspension and any possible court sentence.

"Representing East Carolina University is a privilege and any behavior which contradicts that is simply unacceptable," said East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill in an official release. "There's a level of expectation with conduct standards we have in place, especially with seniors who are in leadership roles. I'm both disappointed and embarrassed with the decisions Michael and Emanuel made and we will continue to hold one's accountability very seriously."

Davis is a two-time All-Conference USA selection and is expected to anchor a secondary that has nowhere to go but up. East Carolina ranked 107th nationally in pass defense in 2010, giving up 252.1 yards per game. Bowman ranked fourth on the team in receptions, pulling in 46 catches for 422 yards and three touches. As pointed out by CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy, the suspensions come at an odd time considering the Pirates' opponent for that game, South Carolina, announced the reinstatement of cornerback Victor Hampton. Hampton was dismissed last week for violating team rules.
Posted on: December 29, 2010 11:42 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 9:16 am
 

Bowl Grades: Military Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

MARYLAND

Offense - After such a successful season for Danny O'Brien, many expected the freshman quarterback to go right back to his favorite target, Torrey Smith, against the outmatched East Carolina secondary. But it was the running backs who stole the show in the 51-20 victory. D.J. Adams, Da'Rell Scott, and David Meggett combined for 297 yards and 4 touchdowns against arguably the worst defense in college football. The opposition certainly didn't provide much of a challenge, but you still have to give the Terps credit for being able to take advantage of the opportunities. GRADE: B

Defense - Maryland figured they would have their hands full with Dominique Davis and the high-octane ECU offense. They knew they would have an advantage on offense, and just needed to keep the Pirates in check in order to secure a victory. Maryland's success started with a great scheme to frustrate and confuse Davis. Davis looked uncomfortable in the pocket, and the Terps forced him to turn the ball over three times (2 INTs, 1 FF). GRADE: B+

Coaching - While Friedgen received much of the praise for Maryland's performance in his last game as head coach, the job of defensive coordinator Don Brown should not be overlooked. ECU came into the game ranking in the top 20 nationally in most offensive categories, and Maryland held them to just one touchdown until the final minutes of regulation. Also a nod to running backs coach John Donovan for his job standing in for departed offensive coordinator James Franklin. GRADE: A-

EAST CAROLINA

Offense - East Carolina's impressive offensive statistics were not an overly inflated point because of a weaker schedule. In fact, the Pirates played three ACC teams this season (1-2), and they averaged 25.7 points in those games. So there are very few excuses for the numerous penalties and six turnovers by the East Carolina offense. The Pirates threw for 311 yards, but only rushed for 32 as the hurry-up offense was slowed to a stop by costly mistakes. Lincoln Riley is considered one of the bright young coaches in the game, but his offense mailed it in against the Terps. GRADE: F

Defense - The most disappointing thing about East Carolina's defense was watching them cave in the second half. Not only did Maryland continue to build the lead, but the effort applied (particularly on the 61 and 93 yard TD runs by Da'rell Scott) seemed to diminish as the clock continued to wind down. We knew that ECU's defense was the worst in the NCAA, but you still would like to see a little more effort in pursuit of the ball based on the bigger stage. Shame on us for having high hopes/expectations out of the Pirates defense in 2010. GRADE: F

Coaching - I believe that ECU has a bright future ahead, particularly under the leadership of first-year head coach Ruffin McNeill and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. But considering the four turnovers and 15 penalties, it is hard not to criticize the Pirates' preparation. ECU was sloppy out of the gate, and there were back-breaking penalties on both sides of the ball. Been a rough second half the season, and many of their woes continued into the postseason. GRADE: D+

FINAL GRADE: The 2010 Military Bowl was made up of, among other things, 71 points, 6 turnovers, 26 penalties, and lasted just a few minutes shy of four hours. Any further explanation would include too many expletives. Sloppy, long, and painful at the end. GRADE: F
 
 
 
 
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