Practice Update: 10/10/12

After their first conference loss to UCF last weekend, the Pirates look to bounce back in their homecoming bout this weekend against Conference USA opponent Memphis. Inside ECU Sports had a chance to catch up with Coach Ruffin McNeil along with some key players from both sides of the ball to reflect on the loss to UCF and talk about this weekend's homecoming match-up.

Coach McNeil

-Keys to beating Memphis: "We need to make sure that we're very physical, they get after it. Offensively they've gone to more of the option and their quarterback does a good job of throwing the football and managing the football team. Defensively, they are very active with a lot of movement while mixing up their blitz packages. They run a 3-4 defense and move around a lot like we do and they have a quality kick returner on special teams. In order to get the win all three units must perform at a high level.

Shane Carden

-On stretching the field on offense: "For the first couple of starts taking care of the ball was the main focus and after that our main focus has been to stretch the field. I think we've done a good job of that, each week we focus on one thing, last week it was starting fast and we did that so this week it's just about maintaining it. It comes down to protecting the ball, stretching the field, and maintaining all of that. Everyone saw what we're capable of as an offense if we do all of those things together."

-The importance of this game/homecoming: "This is a huge game in our season this year; it's a home conference game and if you want to win conference you have to win those. This is the first start of our second half of the season; it's a big game for us and our school right now. We look to come out in front of our home crowd and get the win."

-Expectations of Memphis defense: "They're going to come out strong they're a good defense. We have to execute our plays, keep it to what we do in practice, and make routine plays and we should be alright. Just as long as we play within ourselves we should be able to get this win at Homecoming."

Vintavious Cooper

-Running game not as dominant this week, improvements: "We need to be more physical, we knew that they would be a physical bunch but we didn't make the right adjustments and execute in the second half as we should have. We came out big and went up two touchdowns with a lot of momentum but the biggest thing was to sustain that momentum which we failed to do. We have to learn that we have to sustain momentum throughout the game in order to get wins."

-Homecoming/conference game, importance: "It's really important , being that it is the homecoming game its very exciting, I know the Pirate Nation is excited as well. However, we need to understand that it is a conference game and we can't let our emotions and excitement get the best of us. We need to come into the game and execute after preparing this week as best we could this week; and treat it like its any other game in order to get the win."

-Expectations from Memphis defense: "They're going to be a lot like last week, a lot of physical and fast defensive linemen along with pretty physical linebackers. They are so-so in the defensive backfield but we know that they are a pretty fast bunch and are going to get after us so we have to do our best to play our brand of football, execute our plays, and be the more physical team. Also, we need to come out as the most exciting team, because when we come out and play the way we know we can there is no team in our conference that can stop us."

Jeremy Grove

-Thoughts on UCF game: "I thought we swarmed to the ball well, every time we had a tackle we had a bunch of guys around the ball. Our D-line did a good job of getting pressure on the quarterback and getting down the line on runs. We need to keep eliminating big plays, which is something we've had to continuously work on all year and if we do that we should be fine."

-Keys to stopping Memphis' offense: "They have a lot of athletic wide receivers which we will have to cover. Their offensive line gets off the ball well, along with a few running backs who can really play. Overall they are going to be a big physical team with a solid quarterback who can run and throw the ball. We will have to execute and play our game in order to get the win this weekend at home."

Final Thoughts

The Pirates look to come out big this Saturday in their Homecoming game against Memphis. After talking to players and coaches it seems as though they have put this loss to UCF behind them in order to focus on the task at hand. As long as the offense executes their routine plays and the defense swarms to the ball while limiting big plays, the Pirates should fare well against a physical Memphis team. This will be a very important game for East Carolina this weekend and it is a crucial time in the season to get an important home win. Look for the Pirates to come out energized and ready to go; kickoff from Dowdy-Ficklen will be at 4:30 p.m.

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