Coach McNeill Signing Day Transcript
Feb. 3, 2010
"The special thing about it was going into these young men's homes last week and meeting with their parents. They each gave us, including everybody at the university, the administrators and the Pirate Nation, their word they would be attending. They held true to their word and I'm excited to get them here. I can't wait to start getting them here and meeting with our current players. I'm looking forward to getting them around our family here in the summer, too. They were equally excited about getting here.
"It has been a great day. We're getting ready to finish this recruiting off today and then really dive into our current players who are here now."
On The Balance Of This Year's Class
"The list was really built to fill our needs. We lost a lot of players from last year's championship team. These guys were recruited to fit those needs. I'm very pleased with the balance, especially among the offensive and defensive linemen.
"The positions that we really have to key on in recruiting now are duel-threat players who can be offensively or defensively productive in the systems we will now implement here. We want a guy who is a quarterback and might also be able to help us at wide receiver, which is what Michael Crabtree, who we had at Texas Tech, did.
"I'm very pleased with the dual capabilities of a lot of these signees. I'm very happy with that balance."
On The Recruiting Process
"After I met with Coach Holland, I had two priorities. First was to meet with the current players. Second was to call the commits. We got them on the phone and talked to the parents and eased their minds a little bit.
"My next goal was to get in everyone's home. That was the hard part, but it was fun. I caught a lot of planes, rental cars and taxis while staying in a lot of hotels. I also ate a lot of lunches. Everybody seemed to want to feed me. Everybody was very courteous to me.
"Probably the scariest thing was one day trying to remember what state and city I was in. I called Coach Holland that day and told him I forgot where I was. Still, it was a fun challenge. It was a whirlwind, but I knew what to expect having been around it for a little bit. Every home was receptive and every kid was excited. That made the trips a lot easier."
On The Reaction Of The Recruits
"Once we established that with each home, family member and parental group, the conversations just took off. I told them what I believed it and the process we'll take academically here. I also talked about my philosophy of service and asking what can we do to make East Carolina better today. That was very important. I know the parents appreciated that.
"The next thing the recruit wanted to know, if he was on offense, was what the philosophy would be. That's when the excitement, even in the offensive linemen, picked up. Defensively, we'll attack. I know the offense gets a lot of the publicity, but we've got some special guys on the defensive side of the ball, too. The defensive recruits were excited about the systems as well.
"The third thing that people sometimes forget about is special teams. We want to be attacking in that phase, too.
"The conversations went from philosophies and academics to my beliefs and visions for the team and then to what we wanted to accomplish on offense, defense and special teams."
On Selling East Carolina To Recruits
"This last week was the most comfortable delivery that I could ever possibly have. I was selling my alma mater. I have the opportunity and chance to be an ambassador for this university. I take that responsibility really seriously. It was easy to sell this university because this is my school, too.
"Going into the homes, I was selling something that I could speak about in terms of degrees and playing football. I could tell the recruit I've been on that side of the fence and this side of the fence. It was an easy pitch, straight from the heart and what I believe in. It was the easiest time, by far, I've ever had going into a recruit's home. It was fun."
On Differences Between These Recruits And Those At Texas Tech
"Defensively, we'll need a lot of athleticism because we want to do a lot of pressuring. The same is true of special teams.
"Comparing the recruits is very similar to Texas Tech. Offensively, we fit the mold and defensively, I know what we need. We have those guys on defense who fit the rangy, athletic, change-of-direction and play-making mold.
"I'm very pleased with the athleticism and balance of this group. I challenged them all to prepare to start. There is no entitlement here. Nobody is entitled to anything. We're not predetermining redshirts here at all. I told each home and family that. We'll evaluate where we are after the spring, but I asked them to prepare to come in to start and play. I mean that. I was very pleased."
On Recruiting With Donnie Kirkpatrick
"Riding around with him was excellent. We had a chance to get into a ton of high schools looking for juniors next year, too. We got to know each other very well."
On Which Recruits He Expects Could Make An Impact Next Season
"The athletic guys in the group, as with any program, tend to have a chance to contribute pretty early. I'm anticipating some of those guys being able to do some things on offense, defense or special teams. We'll make sure we're smart in choosing those guys and make sure they can be very productive for us."
On Dominique Davis
On Making It To Each Recruit's House
On Having Seven Early Enrollees
On Wanting To Get All The Recruits
"Coming in like we did with 10 days, there was not much time to evaluate. We got a quarterback in that we had some previous knowledge of. We also got Lamar Ivey in from Eastern Alamance. It was a whirlwind, but I wanted to reel all of them in."
On Next Year's Quarterback
"The biggest thing to me is what's on tape. I don't really want to know what somebody told me he can do. I'm ready to watch him on the film and on the field. Once we do that, then we'll make the evaluation on who should play there. That's a position Lincoln Riley and his staff are really looking at and evaluating now."
On His Coaching Philosophy
"I made all fourth down calls and all time out decisions, just like I will here. I'll be the only one who speaks to officials here, too. Going into that game [Texas Tech's Alamo Bowl], we had a plan. I told Lincoln before to have some plays ready. We had a thought process lined out. We'll do the same thing here."
On Coaching At East Carolina
"There will be some things we change in personnel philosophies, but they players are ready to make that move. We've had some discussions the last couple days and have gotten to know each other a little bit better.
"It's a great feeling to be here. I said the first day I feel blessed. I know I'm blessed to be here. I'll do the best job I can each day to make East Carolina better. The coaches I bring in will think the same way. Everybody who has been assigned to me will think the same way. That is not negotiable. There are certain things that are up for discussion, but that thought process is not one of them.
"Right now the guys are meeting academically and making sure everybody is on the same page. That's part of the process, too. They are doing their due diligence.
"To me, it's the greatest feeling I've ever had. I'm so proud to be here. I take my responsibility very seriously. It's a `we' deal here and it'll always be that way as long as I'm here."