Ruffin McNeill PC Quotes: UNC

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Fifth-year coach Ruffin McNeill met with the local media Monday in preparation of ECU's game with the North Carolina Tar Heels Saturday.

Here is the complete transcription from head coach Ruffin McNeill’s press conference Monday.

Opening Statement:

“I’m very happy with the win. Saturday’s game was the first time that ECU has won at Virginia Tech since 1991. I didn’t realize that. I don’t think about those things going into the game, but when you hear a fact like that, you understand how big a win like this was for the Pirate Nation and our kids. It was a tough place to play. I’m very proud of our team and staff. My satisfaction is seeing those guys happy and this was a game I thought the players and coaches earned. We knew it would be that way going to face Coach Beamer’s team.

“We’ve talked about commitment to the vision and the team, and those are not just buzzwords for us. Those are things we demand of our staff, first, and of our players. If we continue to do that, those will be the reasons for our success. That’s what we believe in. Our players believe in our system and they believe in each other and that’s what helped get the job done on Saturday. That’s why there wasn’t a panic.

“The 24-hour rule expired last night after we started watching film. We are in ‘Operation Move-On’ as of last night and today going heavy at it.

“After the game I thought that, offensively, we started fast with 21 points early. We challenged them downfield, which we knew we had to against a team that would apply pressure in man-to-man defense like Bud (Foster) does, and I thought our receivers were able to make competitive players downfield. We made critical plays with our backs against the wall. At the end of the day, we were able to average seven yards per play against one of the top defenses in the country year-in and year-out. It’s outstanding when you get that.

“Defensively, I thought we played well and swarmed the ball well. I thought we were very physical on defense. We knew going into the game and after watching the Ohio State film that we would have to be, and that’s really ever week. We did a great job or controlling the run, pressuring the quarterback and affecting the quarterback. Rick (Smith) recorded 20 “MAD” plays or “Make A Difference” plays which are things such as a tackle for a loss, a sack, interception or bat down.

“On special teams, I’m proud of our first-year punter (Worth Gregory). He’s averaging 47 yards per kick and that currently has him sixth in the nation with 48.4 per game average. Warren Harvey was 3-of-4 on (touchbacks). On the missed field goal, it was a misunderstanding of Warren being ready and Worth thought he saw the nod, but snapped it a little bit early. Warren has practice and performed well. Our coverage team was very good. That was an emphasis by Kirk (Doll), as well as trying to get positive yards in the return game. The coaches call it ‘Doll Ball’.

“Our staff is working hard right now on our next opponent, UNC. We know we have another talented ACC team coming into Dowdy-Ficklen and the coaching staff is preparing for them at a high pace.

“Offensively for UNC, Marquise Williams is a talented quarterback, (including) Quinshad Davis at wide receiver and T.J. Logan at running back. They’re always big up front (with) talented offensive linemen that we of course have our eyes on, too.

“Defensively, they have great athleticism with Travis Hughes, Brian Walker and Ethan Farmer. Then Ryan Switzer, a receiver and returner, is a guy we have to make sure we do a great job with on our coverage team because he can make a difference in the game pretty quickly.”

On If It’s Harder To Move On This Week After The Win Than It Was Last Week After A Loss:

“If we had just began implementing our commitment to the team and focus to our vision and mission this week or last week it would be tough, but because we began that process on day one and we’ve been consistent with that message, the older guys know that. On the bus, I heard Kirk (Doll) grading special teams, Lincoln (Riley) grading offense and I can tell Rick (Smith) and John (Wiley) did that on defense. When we got here Sunday, we watched the film again as a staff, made our corrections among ourselves and with the team, then on the field last night, we dove into UNC pretty quickly.”

On If He Asks Players To Relax And Decompress After Game Days:

“After the 24-hour rule, they have treatment with Jake (Moore), study hall begins, Coach C (Connors) has lifting for the developmental team and redshirts, and then we begin meeting as a team on the field at 6:15. We start into our routine and we’ve been that way since the first day we came. Trust me, they have time to play video games. Once they come over here, it’s that routine.”

On Playing Emotionally Intensified Games:

“We know we play a tough schedule. For us, we look at it as a chance for us to find out how our commitments are developing. You find out some things you’re doing very well and you find out some things you need to work on. Those last two teams, two top coaches, at their place, perennial powers; we had to play at level we need to continue at the end of the season. It’s not like we have to think about it this week.”

On If It’s Difficult To Drown Out The Positive Noise After The Win At Virginia Tech:

“Drowning out the noise applies to both. The only expectations our kids have are what we talked about ourselves because we have high expectations. With expectations, the kids know that putting in the commitment through doing what we ask them to do with Coach C and during the offseason. If I tell them they did good, they did. The positive things are great, but they understand what we talk about from day one. I’m glad we’re playing in Dowdy-Ficklen in front of our family. That’s big time. I know there will be a lot of excitement here in Greenville. I’m getting a lot of calls and I know Pay Dye, Pat Dye Jr., and Pat Dye III are coming into town and they’re going to talk to the team on Friday. There are a lot guys coming into town. That’s a lot of positive noise, but those guys are coming in with a serious mindset, too.”

On How Virginia Tech Compares to North Carolina:

“Every team is different. Every year is different. Our team is different from last year. Larry’s (Fedora) team is different from last year. He’s had some years to get his kids in there at UNC and his team is changing as well. Last week, Coach Beamer has been there for a length of time and he’s been consistent in his message in recruiting. Both teams are very talented, coached well, recruit well and have high-caliber players.”

On What He Saw On Defense Against Virginia Tech, Including Josh Hawkins’ Performance:

“I was very pleased with our defense. What we call 11-man football, they did their jobs very well. They played very fast and aggressive. I thought we made plays and I think Josh will attribute that to affecting the quarterback and providing pressure on the quarterback, but Josh also has a great knack for the football. A lot of people forget Josh was one of the top running backs in the state. Rick Smith, our defensive coordinator, and John Wiley, Duane Price and Marc Yellock had a great plan of blending the fronts, blitzes and movements, and our kids did a great job of executing.”

On The Impact Of Terry Williams:

“It was good to get Terry back. We monitor practice reps with him. Like Shane, Terry has been here the same length of time, so he’s heard the same beliefs and ideas. Terry has been one of those guys who we talk about when we say this team has a story and some type of adversity, and Terry is evidence of that. Even when he was injured, he was talking to the young kids like Demetri McGill, Demage Bailey and K’Hadree Hooker. He didn’t know I was watching or wasn’t doing it to prove something to me, but to make sure they were doing some things well. To have him back, make an impact, knows our system and can command a double team at the position in the 3-4 was very critical. We’ll have to monitor his reps ass he was a little sore after the game, but leadership was a big thing from Terry.”

On The Challenge Of Facing UNC Quarterback Marquise Williams:

“He’s a dual (threat) quarterback. Michael Brewer was a dual-threat quarterback. He’s big, strong and athletic. He’s been in the system and what will help is he understands Larry (Fedora) and Seth Littrell. Seth worked with Lincoln (Riley) and I at Texas Tech as offensive coordinator. He’ll know what Larry wants as far as ball distribution and being able to extend plays with his feet, but he’s got some weapons around him, so we have to be concerned with doing our jobs during the week and make sure we continue to make routine plays. If we have a job of containing him on a play, we have to make sure we’re there and being sound because he can do all of it.”

If Extra Practice Time Is Spent Preparing For Williams’ Running Ability Or If He Trusts Players’ Instincts:

“Everything we do is designed around whomever we’re playing. We don’t face many straight-drop quarterbacks anymore. We don’t have many on our schedule and that trend started about three years ago when zone blitzing and those things came about. Defending any quarterback, we have to prepare for that already so our defense is designed that way.”

On The Familiarity He Has With What Larry Fedora Does Offensively:

“Larry and I talk and I have a lot of respect for Larry. I can remember the day he got the job at Southern Miss and I was so proud of him. Every team is different. When you believe in your system the way Larry does and we do, you can expand on it and you become more efficient, so now Larry feels good with Marquise. Seth (Littrell) is a great puzzle fit for him because Seth understands our offense, which blends with what Larry does. Those two make a pretty good combination, so we’ll have to do a good job of doing our job.”

On Playing This In-State Rivalry Game As A Former Player And If That Changes What He Tells The Players:

“It’s going to happen on its own. All in-state games are important for both teams. Larry and I came from the same ground. He understands the importance of in-state rivalries. The game will have enough excitement on its own. Our job is to make sure we control what we can control and making sure we don’t move outside our commitment and dedication to our team first, embracing your role and making sure you’re doing everything you can to make the team better. In-state rivalries are great for our fan base. We have the greatest fans in the country. People will get to see Pirate Nation (and) our atmosphere on the national stage and on ESPN this week. We can’t wait to let the country see that. I’m anxious to put our fans in eastern North Carolina out there.”

On The Advantage Of Playing At Home Against North Carolina:

”It’s good to be home and it will be great to be in front of our fans. They have a pride and passion for our athletic program. Being at home at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is good. Now does it make it magical? No. Having the fans’ support? Yes. We have to have a great day of planning and practice each day so that we can have the best chance of success on Saturday.”

On If There Is A Carry Over On Thoughts Of What Happened In Last Year’s Game At UNC:

“I don’t bring it up. Each team’s personality is different. We don’t have to bring it up because of what we keep preaching. We know we’re facing a talented team as I mentioned before. I’m anxious to dive into the film a little more because they got onto a great streak at the end of last year.”

On Wide Receiver Cam Worthy’s Performance at Virginia Tech Last Saturday:

“It was good to see him making competitive plays. I’m proud of Cam and his contribution to our team. He’s a quiet guy. He’s very complementary. I could see not just offensive kids, but defensive kids, go up to him in the locker room and tell him how proud of him they were. I just stay out of it and try to digest it. I wish I could just bottle it up because the most exciting time to me is seeing those kids happy.”

--------- Injury Report (for entire spring session) ---------

OUT – ILB Devaris Brunson (right knee),

DOUBTFUL- ILB Joe Carter (right elbow)

LONG-TERM: WR DaQuan Barnes (back), ILB Desi Brown (left lower leg), OLB Kirk Donaldson (right knee), TE Darren Dowdell (left leg), OL Christian Matau (left knee)

---------- Depth Chart --------------


Outside Wide Reciever (X): Cam Worthy (Reserves: Trevon Brown)

Inside Wide Receiver (H): Isaiah Jones (Reserves: Cedric Thompson, Quay Johnson)

Left Tackle: Ike Harris (Reserves: Stewart Hinson)

Left Guard: Quincy McKinney (Reserves: Will Foxx)

Center: Taylor Hudson (Reserves: C.J. Struyk)

Right Guard: Tre Robertson OR J.T Boyd

Right Tackle: Dontae Levingston (Reserves: Brandon Smith)

Quarterback: Shane Carden (Reserves: Kurt Benkert)

Running Back: Breon Allen OR Chris Hairston (Reserves: Marquez Grayson)

Inside Wide Receiver: Justin Hardy (Reserves: Bryce Williams)

Outside Wide Receiver: Davon Grayson (Reserves: Jimmy Williams)


Defensive End: Johnathan White (Reserves: K’Hadree Hooker)

Nose Tackle: Chrishon Rose OR Terry Williams (Reserves: Demetri McGill)

Defensive End: Fred Presley (Reserves: Terry Biles)

Outside (SAM) Linebacker: Montese Overton (Reserves: Dayon Pratt, Pat Green)

Inside (MIKE) Linebacker: Zeek Bigger (Reserves: Cameron White)

Inside (BUCK) Linebacker: Brandon Williams (Reserves: Ray Tillman)

Outside (WILL) Linebacker: Maurice Falls (Reserves: Joe Allely, Jake Geary)

Field Cornerback: Josh Hawkins (Reserves: DaShaun Amos, Rocco Scarfone)

Strong Safety: Lamar Ivey (Reserves: Terrell Richardson)

Free Safety: Domonique Lennon (Reserves: Travon Simmons)

Boundary Cornerback: Detric Allen (Reserves: Dashawn Benton)


Placekicker: Warren Harvey (Reserves: Davis Plowman)

Holder: Worth Gregory (Reserves: Isaiah Jones)

Punter: Worth Gregory (Reserves: Davis Plowman)

Snapper: Charlie Coggins (Reserves: Colton Oliver)

Punt returner: Justin Hardy (Reserves: Trevon Brown)

Kickoff returner: Breon Allen (Reserves: Isaiah Jones)

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