banner
ECU

ECU ready to live up to preseason hype

Posted July 24, 2013

East Carolina Pirates quarterback Shane Carden (5)  keeps the ball during todays game.East Carolina defeats Marshall  65-59 in O.T. at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville North Carolina. (Photos By Anthony Barham)

East Carolina University has high expectations for the upcoming football season and believe the squad can live up to the coaches’ preseason prediction to win the Conference USA East Division crown.

The Pirates have the second most returning starters, 16, in the FBS including running back Vintavious Cooper, wide receiver Justin Hardy, linebacker Derrell Johnson and offensive lineman Will Simmons.

Pirates head coach Ruffin McNeil, who received a contract extension through 2017 season in June, said the front seven is the key to success on the defense this year and believes the squad has depth on the line.

ECU finished last season strong by winning their final three regular season games and scoring at least 34 points in five of the last seven games. The Pirates fell short against Louisiana-Lafayette, 43-34, in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. McNeil said he doesn’t see the game as a loss, rather the team just ran out of time.

Quarterback Shane Carden didn’t begin the 2012 campaign as the starting signal caller, but he did take over in the second game of this season on the road against the University of South Carolina. The rising junior continued to show progress throughout the course of the season and finished with a total of 3,116 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In his best performance last season, Carden threw for 308 yards, five touchdowns and a season-high 204.2 passer rating against Memphis.

“I’m more excited about the opportunity this year to come in immediately and get this offense starting fast,” Carden said Wednesday while at C-USA Media Day in Irving, Texas.

McNeill and Carden used the phrase “starting fast” repeatedly Wednesday, emphasizing getting out to early leads.
The Pirates have taken the approach of not listening to outside noise because it doesn’t change the team’s philosophy or preparation.

“We have higher expectations within the program than outside of the program,” said McNeill.

In his three seasons at ECU, McNeill has an overall record of 19-19 and a conference record of 16-8. He feels last season was one to build on.

“It was one of the most satisfying times in my career and one of the most challenging times at one point,” McNeill said. “It was one of the most satisfying to watch the team grow.”

The Pirates season opener against Old Dominion will take place Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. ET in Greenville.

3 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • tcoutouzis Jul 25, 12:21 p.m.

    If there ever was a year for a break out season, this would be it. Anything less than an 8 win season will be considered an utter disappointment. We have veteran players and a new proven DC who was responsible for our success when Skip was here. The only thing that could stop this from being the year are injuries, bad coaching or both.

  • Hokies94 Jul 24, 7:08 p.m.

    The only weakness for ECU since Ruff came abord was on the defensive side of the ball. They have loads of experience on the DL, and I hope they win this conference. We play up there on Sept 14th. The Hokies need to have a solid game.

  • Pirate01 Jul 24, 5:32 p.m.

    It all comes down to defense. We can score points but can we stop the other team with what was a porous backfield. Hopefully the defensive staff changes will make the difference.

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:30 on FOX50

  • NFL: Seattle at Carolina

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Pittsburgh

    Tomorrow at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
4th
UVA 27
UNC 21
 
3rd
NCCU 14
SAVST 7
 
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
 
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
 
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
 
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
 
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
 
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
 
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
 
4th
UVA 27
UNC 21
 
4th
EMICH 17
NILL 21
 
3rd
NAVY 31
SJST 17
 
Half
BST 13
AKR 21
 
Half
GASTATE 17
GASO 27
 
Half
TOL 14
UMASS 20
 
2nd
WMICH 28
OHIO 7
 
2nd
COL 7
UCLA 24
 
2nd
UMO 7
KSU 0
 
1st
WAKE 0
BC 0
 
1st
BUF 0
CMICH 0
 
1st
MARS 0
FATL 0
 
1st
PITT 0
GT 7
 
1st
SMISS 0
LATU 0
 
1st
MSU 0
MICH 0
 
3:30pm Today
KENT
MSST
1st
STAN 0
ORST 0
 
1st
TCU 0
TTU 7
 
1st
OKST 0
WVU 0
 
4:00pm Today
WKENT
ODU
4:00pm Today
UTST
UNLV
4:00pm Today
MIZZ
VANDY
5:00pm Tonight
UCF
TEMPL
6:00pm Tonight
WASU
ARZ
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
LAMON
TXST
7:00pm Tonight
TXSANANTO
UTEP
7:00pm Tonight
COLST
WYO
7:15pm Tonight
LSU
MISS
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
ALA
7:30pm Tonight
AUB
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
4:00pm Today
SJS
BUF
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DET
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
NJD
7:00pm Tonight
MON
NYR
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
3rd
NCCU 14
SAVST 7