ECU Kicks Off Fall Camp
There was a buzz at the Cliff Moore Practice Facility, the site of which the East Carolina football team began its fall camp Monday evening. Like children on Christmas morning, coaches were giddy to work with their remodeled toys — several returning players arrived bigger and faster than they were just this spring after a summer with strength and conditioning coach Jeff Connors — as well as some new ones. After all, Monday marked the first time JUCO transfers and most true freshmen practiced with the team. “It’s a day I’ve been waiting for a long time,” said ECU Head Coach Ruffin McNeill. “The summer was good. I didn’t have as much vacation as I thought was, but I was thinking about the team and the staff and what we could do to make us better.” As he does after every practice, McNeill brought the team together on a rare cool August evening and addressed his players. And after day one, the fifth-year coach offered some perspective. “I was telling them ‘this is the first day for some of you and for some of the fifth-year players, it’s in the hundreds. And for some of you coaches, it’s in the thousands.’” The Pirates had their first team meeting Sunday night after the players checked in and moved into campus housing at Aycock Residence Hall. According to McNeill, the next few weeks will be more about familiarizing his players and cementing what he describes as the “team concept,” rather than focusing on individual opponents. ECU opens the season with North Carolina Central Aug 30 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. “It’s always been about us here and what we can do. You can always expose them to some things, but it’s always about what we can control. And what we can control is how we prepare as coaches and how we will attack the field at practice,” McNeill said. “We’ll blend in some opponents here, but even with that, it will be about us executing.” ECU players were put through Connors’ pre-season conditioning test in the morning and everyone passed. McNeill told reporters that Connors said “it was one of the best days we’ve had.” Two members of the Pirates’ 2014 recruiting class did not report this summer: Rock Hill, S.C. defensive back Corey Seargeant and Mauldin, S.C. wide receiver Dre Massey. McNeill told Inside ECU Sports that there were not any other surprise omissions to ECU’s roster like the late disqualifications of receivers Justin Jones and Jabril Solomon a season ago. No other coaches or players were made available for comment, but they will be starting Tuesday at ECU’s annual media day. Inside ECU Sports will have complete coverage of media day. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live updates.
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