Nov. 11, 2013
Coach McNeill Press Conference
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Fourth-year East Carolina Head Coach Ruffin McNeill addressed members of the media Monday prior to this week's home game against UAB. The following are selected comments:
"Homecoming was special with lettermen coming back and the Hall of Fame inductions. It was great to get a win at home with all the festivities. We knew we would catch Tulsa's best shot. It was a team that had a big group from its championship team the year before. I liked the way our kids handled it. I thought we were very resilient when watching the film yesterday. There were little lulls here and there, but I thought we finished well.
"The thing we talked about after the game was making sure we kept improving on execution and consistent play. I thought our offense moved the ball well and they were very efficient. We were balanced most of the night, and I thought Shane [Carden] did a good job of running our team. We played well up front and our receivers blocked well on the edges for the most part during the game. Defensively, we played hard. Getting off the field on third down improved as the game went on.
"On special teams, we were solid in all areas. Our kickoff coverage was one group we felt could have played better. We had been one of the best kickoff-coverage teams in the conference, so that's an area we worked on last night [at practice].
"I mentioned a term last week: complementary football. We had some spurts of it the other night, but not in the consistent or forensic-type manner that I would like."
"They play two quarterbacks offensively in Jonathan Perry and Austin Brown. Jonathan is more mobile and a dual-threat quarterback. Austin is more of a straight drop-back passer. We have to be prepared for two different types of quarterbacks this Saturday. Darrin Reaves was a first-team all-conference running back last year. He shares time with Jordan Howard, and Jordan has speed. They're both powerful runners and they both have speed. I think one of the best receivers in the league is Jamarcus Nelson. He has a lot of speed and they've been going to him a lot more.
"On defense, they return five starters from last year's team. They will be a multiple defense giving you some even-man fronts and some odd. They have a lot of movement on the coverage end, so we'll have to be smart and make sure we distribute the ball properly. Jake Ganus, their safety, stands out, along with linebackers D.J. White and Dihaeem Watkins, and Jimmy Jean at corner."
On Tre Robertson's Performance Filling In At Right Tackle:
"Tre is playing very well. We knew he would. He's very smart and understands the offense. He's blocked and protected well. Adhem is back in town and he may get cleared in a week or two. Right now he's able to do conditioning."
On Holes Or Weaknesses UAB Might Have:
"Every time we've played anyone this year, we've gotten their best shot, which we expected. Most people make changes when we go into a game each week. I've watched some games where we've seen the same package for five or six-straight games and they change their whole system or scheme. I remember last year, UAB changed their scheme during the week as well. It's not about who we play, it's about how we play."
On Preparing For Two Different Quarterbacks:
"It's not very hard because you work on the base thought-process of quarterback-designed runs and if it's a straight drop-back passer as well, you have a package for that. The biggest thing that hurts you is in coverage when he can scramble and extend plays like Shane [Carden] does. In pass situations, we have to have great pass-lane integrity and be disciplined."
If He References To The Team Tough Games Against UAB In Recent Years:
"I think they [the players] will remember. Every time we've played them, here or there, it's been a dogfight. We know we'll catch their best shot and we have to make sure we do what we have to do, and that's get better every day during the week."
On WR Bryce Williams' Improvements:
"I don't think he played his best game this past game, and I think he'll tell you that. We depend on Bryce to keep improving. His blocking has improved and he catches the ball extremely well."
On Facing A Good Running Team Two Weeks In A Row (Tulsa Last Week And Now UAB):
"We have to stop or control it, especially on early downs. I watched them against UTSA and Middle Tennessee, and they do a lot of things from unbalanced to overloads, and closed sets. They have the ability to do some different things, so we'll have to be ready for them."
On Shane Carden's Intensity On The Field:
"He's a ball-player. Shane could be a starting linebacker here. He's a football player, whose tough as nails and he takes a lot of pride in it."
On Shane Carden Not Being Satisfied Despite Accounting For Seven TD's Against Tulsa:
"We have an agreement here that we have expectations, not just from players but the coaches as well.. If I'm not pushing them hard, they have the right to come tell me that. If they're not doing what I expect, I have the right to tell them that. The first thing Shane said to me after Saturday was that we need to be more consistent. Having Shane say that means a lot, and it tells me - not that I didn't know - that it's going on with the rest of the locker room, too."
On Justin Hardy Breaking The School's Record For Touchdown Receptions:
"He was happy to get it. When you saw him go to his knees, he was probably praying to his dad. Lance [Lewis] and Dwayne Harris have extended the expectations at that position, which is what you want as a team, a group and individually, too. It was pretty cool to see him be able to break it at home in front of 45,000 family members."