April 3, 2012
In a four-part series, staff writer Sam Hickman takes an up-close and personal look at a quartet of Pirates competing for the starting quarterback position this spring. The players will be featured on Tuesdays and Thursdays in order based on class eligibility, starting with senior Brad Wornick.
GREENVILLE, N. C. - Brad Wornick continues his remarkable rise from a relative scout team unknown to a potential starting quarterback. After spending the early stages of his Pirate career preparing the ECU defense for its upcoming opponent, the Charlotte native rose to No. 2 on the depth chart and served as Dominique Davis' top backup in 2010.
Although his time behind center was limited during the first year of the Ruffin McNeill era, Wornick performed admirably when called upon by completing 13-of-19 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown in five appearances. The former walk-on spelled Davis in the fourth quarter of the Military Bowl against Maryland and tossed his first career scoring strike - a 14-yarder to Justin Jones.
Wornick did not experience game action in 2011, but the aforementioned competition for the top quarterback duties have re-intensified following Davis' departure and into spring camp.
SH: You began your career as a walk-on and four years later find yourself once again competing for the starting quarterback job. Could you describe your experience at East Carolina and the increased roles you've had each season?
BW:"You know, coming in as a walk-on and being a scout team guy, I never really get an opportunity to learn the offense and run the offense so I always felt behind. Once Coach Riley came in with the brand new offense, we sat down for those first few weeks and went over the playbook. We didn't do anything on the field, just stayed inside and made sure we knew the playbook. I started to learn things then. I learned it pretty well and the first spring (2010), I got the opportunity to prove myself for the first time and I feel like I made the most of it."
SH: You went from the scout team signal-caller to the top reserve in 2010. Dominique Davis went down with an injury in a road contest at UAB and you're inserted into the lineup in a critical conference game. How did you handle your emotions?
BW: "Well at that point I was the No. 2 guy and we had been through a spring and fall camp. I was confident in the offense and my ability to run the offense. As far as coming in that particular game, I was nervous, absolutely. That was my first game and my knees were shaking a little bit, but once you get in there, it's all about remembering what we did in practice. I just knew I had to go through the routine and make myself comfortable. I was nervous, but the preparation is what helped me perform."
SH: Can you talk about the benefits of playing behind a record-breaking quarterback like Davis for two years?
BW: "Dominique's a leader. He was a great leader and a great competitor. When we went head-to-head in camp (in 2010), it elevated my game and really took it to another level. Trying to compete with such a great quarterback day in and day out, even though he won the job, it improved my game that much more."
SH: Could you address some of the strengths in your game as well as areas you are seeking to improve upon?
BW: "My strengths are decision-making. We've been working hard in the weight room and my arm strength and athleticism have gotten much better. As far as my weaknesses ... since this is my last year and I've been here for so long, I shouldn't have too many weaknesses." (laughs)
SH: What are your expectations and goals for the remainder of the spring period as we approach the 2012 campaign?
BW: "We've been doing a lot of great things this spring. The defense has really mixed it up some and those guys have added a lot more into their packages. At the same time, the offense is tweaking things here and there and trying to add some new things, too. Spring is a time to work the kinks out so that when fall is here and the games start, everybody out there is confident. Heading into the fall, we should be a tough team. I'm looking forward to it."
Extra Points with Brad Wornick
Favorite movie: 300 - it's a classic movie to get you pumped up.
What's on the iPod: Wiz Khalifa, lots of country as well.
Favorite class taken at ECU: Any online class - that means I get to sleep in more often.
Favorite moment as member of the Pirate football team: Beating Houston in the Conference USA Championship. I wasn't playing at that time, but the excitement inside the stadium was incredible. I had never experienced anything like it.
Most embarrassing moment at ECU: I don't think there's anything I can share. I've been around for so long so I'm sure there has been plenty, but none stick out right now.
What you miss most about home: I definitely miss the meals the most. You know how it is for college students. Home-cooked meals are the best.
Lincoln's (Riley) Labels: laid-back, Mr. Cool, The Frat Boy