Pirates Open '12 Season With First Workout

UABSPORTS.COM Ruffin McNeill and the Pirates knocked out their first workout of 2012 season Friday afternoon.
Ruffin McNeill and the Pirates knocked out their first workout of 2012 season Friday afternoon.

Aug. 3, 2012

Coach McNeill Post-Practice Interview

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Third-year East Carolina Head Football Coach Ruffin McNeill opened the 2012 campaign in earnest Friday with a morning walk-through before guiding the Pirates through their first workout of the season on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex.

ECU will follow Friday's practice, conducted in shorts and helmets, with single sessions through Tuesday, before turning in the first of three scheduled two-a-day periods next Wednesday.

"It's always an exciting day, one that is welcomed by every coach in the country," McNeill said. "To finally be able to get on the field and be around our kids is big for me. No, actually, it's huge. I thought we responded well to many things today, but we need to make sure we don't confuse activity with achievement."

The Pirates are scheduled to progress to shoulder pads for the first time Sunday before following with full gear Tuesday per NCAA rules. ECU will close camp on Monday, Aug. 20 - a day prior to the first day of classes on campus - before wrapping up its overall preseason practice schedule Sept. 1 when the Pirates host Appalachian State at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Similar to last year, East Carolina officially kicked off the new season with 6:30 a.m. conditioning test conducted by Assistant Athletics Director for Strength and Conditioning Jeff Connors.

After Saturday morning's practice, the Pirates will conduct their annual media day activities inside the Murphy Center. McNeill will provide his annual season-opening address that will outline the latest roster additions and deletions, personnel status and possible position changes.

"I like the intangibles this team has," McNeill added. "I've said this often since off-season workouts, but these kids are a no-complain, no-excuse group. Now, we have some long lines at some positions and guys need to be ready to compete every day or someone else will step in, but with the mindset everyone has, it's healthy.

Freshman outside receiver Brandon Bishop, an invited walk-on who prepped at nearby Greene Central High School, replaced another walk-on, junior John Worthy, on the 105-man roster Friday afternoon ... With the exception of Friday's opening workout, McNeill has opted to go to an exclusive morning schedule for all single-practice days throughout this year's camp - beginning at 8:45 and finishing at 11:30.

Scheme: Spread
Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4
Lettermen Returning/Lost: 22/9
2011 Rushing Offense: 109.1 (105/11)
2011 Passing Offense: 286.1 (20/2)
2011 Total Offense: 395.2 (50/5)
2011 Scoring Offense: 26.2 (66/6)
() National/Conference USA rank

Scheme: 3-4
Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4
Lettermen Returning/Lost: 25/8
2011 Rushing Defense: 174.2 (81/8)
2011 Passing Defense: 202.2 (33/2)
2011 Total Defense: 376.3 (56/4)
2011 Scoring Defense: 32.2 (97/8)
() National/Conference USA rank

Starters Returning/Lost: 1/3
Lettermen Returning/Lost: 1/3
2011 Field Goals/Game Average: 1.00 (60/7)
2011 Net Punting Average: 29.6 (120/12)
2011 Kickoff Return Average: 19.2 (110/11)
2011 Punt Return Average: 10.8 (29/4)
() National/Conference USA rank