Ruffin McNeill PC Quotes: UCF

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Ruffin McNeill met with the media to discuss ECU's matchup with UCF Thursday night.

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

Opening Statement:

“It was good to get a conference win on the road with the Thanksgiving holiday around it. It was a big team win. In the last two games, I thought we’ve played really well as a team on all sides (of the ball). It was great to get that win, come back and end Thanksgiving (weekend) properly.

“This is the short week we’ve talked about all year – the fourth quarter with three games in 13 days. I’ve referenced it to a boxing match and this is the final round of this fourth quarter. It’s a game where we know a lot is at stake. The biggest thing for me is that it will be Senior Night. With these seniors, I can identify with exactly what they’re going through. I’ve gone through the exact same thing and I know what’s going through their minds. There is going to be some emotion with these guys. I’m not going to hide it or ask them to suppress it. I want them to enjoy it. They will handle it well. I’m looking forward to hugging each one as they come out (of the tunnel) and meet their parents at midfield in front of Pirate Nation for their last time at Dowdy-Ficklen. These guys have meant a lot to this program, university and city. They’ve brought a lot of positive energy and a reputation with them. They’ve been here from the beginning.

“We know we’re facing a really good football team in Central Florida, too. It will definitely be a big-boy pad day. George (O’Leary) has built that program where they win consistently. You watch them on film, defensively, and they’re one of the best in the conference. Offensively, they do a good job of moving the ball. They’re solid all across the board. I’m looking forward to going through the rest of this week preparing. This is where we have to be smart as a staff and give our guys the proper rest, but at the same time, get their work in. They’ve handled it well and because of this senior group, they can do that.”

On The Importance Of Finishing The Year Undefeated At Home:

“The positive energy is key for the kids. On the road, you have to generate it. At home, it’s positive energy from the crowd. The kids feed off of that. The coaches do too. I can’t reference that enough. It seems like we haven’t played at home much. The games have been few in between. We look forward to not having to travel. I’m looking forward to seeing our guys keep getting better. We keep emphasizing that we want to play our best game our last game. We want to make sure we’re better this week than we were last week. That’s very important.”

On How Emotional It Will Be To See The Senior Class’ Last Game, Particularly The Fifth-Year Seniors:

“You know how much I care about the kids, how much I fight for them and how much they fight for me. It’s a two-way street. It’s not just me. They love as us well. I love coaching with them and coaching for them. These guys have done everything I ask. They’re my sons and it’s not lip service. I love them more as people than I do inside their uniforms. I love those kids personally. Greg Robinson is one of those seniors who have been here since the beginning. He’s been on scout team every year. He doesn’t complain. He does everything to show our offense the opponent’s look. Greg will be successful in life.”

On Shane Carden Saying He Wanted To Play UCF One Last Time:

“I was asked the other day about rivalries and Central Florida is one. They are a team that wins every year. George (O’Leary) has done a great job building the program there. They don’t win for a season, they win for seasons. This league is big. That’s what I love about it. Each game is a great challenge coaching-wise and strategy-wise. This is going to be a head-knocking game. It will be fun. It won’t be for the faint of heart.”

On UCF:

“George (O’Leary) and SMU taught me personally about how important their front seven is on defense. I remember playing them and SMU and it’s (still) the same. Defensively, they are second in the conference in points per game, giving up 18.5. They are first in yards per game at 280. Terrance Plummer, you’ll notice him at linebacker. George always has good linebackers. Up front (defense), Thomas Niles, it seems like he’s been there forever. He stands out. Jacoby Glenn, a defensive back, you see him on film making plays. Also, Jaryl Mamea is a guy up front you notice with size and quickness. “Offensively, it’s hard to replace (Blake) Bortles, a first round draft choice, but Justin Holman has stepped in. He’s a young player who played a little last year, but this year, he’s taken over the quarterback position. I know William Stanback is banged up, but he’s an NFL running back. They do a running back-by-committee and always have. Their center Joey Grant is a standout offensive lineman and one of the best I’ve seen in this league. This is a league where you see big receivers, and (Breshad) Perriman is a guy who really attacks the football. They tend to go to him on third down when they’ve got to have it. They’re a well-coached team.”

On What He Expects From Terrell Richardson And Bobby Fulp At The Safety Position:

“I expect them to perform at a high level. They are good players. Rick (Smith) is a great teacher. With no hesitation we would put Terrell in and you saw how he played (at Tulsa). He has a great blood line – the Hart twins, who played here – and Terrell is along that same line. He and Bobby will do a great job for us.”

On Bobby Fulp:

“He’s on special teams, number 35. He plays a lot and gets a lot of reps. He’s tall, rangy, can run and hit. I have a lot of confidence in Bobby. Any guys you see us putting in there, it’s because they’ve earned it. I have a lot of confidence in Rick (Smith) who teaches, but those players are good players. We’ve built competitive depth for a reason.”

On If Davis Plowman Will Take Any More Kicks This Season:

“I don’t know, we will see. Warren (Harvey) has done a great job for us. He kicked in some very adverse weather conditions for us. The wind was fierce and he kicked four touchbacks into the wind. He did a great job for us. Warren is two points away from being the all-time point-scorer at East Carolina.”

On What Makes UCF’s Defense So Good:

“It all starts up front, and like I mentioned, their front seven does a good job of controlling the run. They’re really solid in pass-rush lanes. They’ll blitz a little bit, but they win with one-on-one matchups and they’re able to defend with seven, and rush with four to get pressure. We have to be patient and value each possession. Our special teams have to give us good field position. It got us in trouble a little bit. The other night with the protection on the punt block, but we were able to fight back. There is a 75-percent chance that you lose after a blocked punt, so to be able to come back from that was big for us.”

On If Location Or Opponent For A Bowl Game Is More Important:

“Going to one is important, because it’s a reward. You get a chance to reward your players. It’s about the players and you get a chance to reward the families of players, coaches and staff. It’s one of the most enjoyable times. We’re going (there) to win the football game. That’s a major part of it, but going to one is special each year. When we didn’t go to one during our second year, we weren’t used to that. It’s the last game for our kids. I know our conference has some great bowls and I don’t know which one we will go to, but all of them are great. I know they are interested in us because we travel. Our team is an attractive team.”

--------- Injury Report ---------

OUT –DE Demage Bailey (right knee), WR Trevon Brown (left knee), DB Cody Purdie (right wrist)

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), ILB Devaris Brunson (right knee)

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

OFFENSE:

Outside Wide Reciever (X): Cam Worthy (Reserves: Terrell Green)

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: J.T Boyd (Reserves: Tre Robertson)

Right Tackle: Tre Robertson (Reserves: Dontae Levingston)

Quarterback: Shane Carden (Reserves: Kurt Benkert)

Running Back: Breon Allen OR Chris Hairston OR Marquez Grayson

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

Outside Wide Receiver: Davon Grayson (Reserves: Jimmy Williams OR Brandon Bishop)

DEFENSE:

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

Nose Tackle: Terry Williams (Reserves: Demetri McGill OR K’Hadree Hooker)

Defensive End: Chrishon Rose (Reserves: Fred Presley OR K’Hadree Hooker)

Outside (SAM) Linebacker: Montese Overton (Reserves: Dayon Pratt)

Inside (MIKE) Linebacker: Zeek Bigger (Reserves: Cameron White OR Joe Carter)

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: Terrell Richardson (Reserves: Bobby Fulp)

Free Safety: Domonique Lennon (Reserves: Travon Simmons)

Boundary Cornerback: Detric Allen (Reserves: Dashawn Benton)

SPECIALISTS:

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: Quay Johnson )

Kickoff returner: Isaiah Jones (Reserves: Davon Grayson)


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