ECU Football Media Day Defensive Quotables

Inside ECU Sports caught up with ECU players and coaches during the Pirates' Media Day. Below are conversations with Rick Smith, Zeek Bigger and Josh Hawkins.

Defensive Coordinator Rick Smith

On Terrell Stanley’s recovery — “Terrell Stanley has had a good spring. It’s not like the first time he’s hit anybody was today. He went through all defensive plays, all 13 days of spring practice. His weight is down a little bit but he’ll gain the weight back. I haven’t seen anything I haven’t like so we’re banking on him having a great year.

On replacing departed players — “Brandon Williams is going to be hard to replace, Terry Williams will be hard to replace, Crishon Rose as well. But every year you have to replace kids. That’s why you recruit. I think this defense has a chance to be faster than last year’s. I’m hoping that whoever our ‘Buck’ linebacker becomes, they’re going to have a better year than Brandon Williams had last year because he had a phenomenal year.”

On what he’s looking for from the younger players — “We always build our defense on the idea of running. We’re going to run to the ball on defense. They have to understand that to play for this staff and to play for coach McNeill is a privilege and a privilege is earned. There’s no entitlement.”

Senior linebacker Zeek Bigger

On rebounding from the disappointing end to the season last year — “Yeah I always think about it, one or two plays. That was the thing about last year, it wasn’t too many mistakes it just came down to one or two plays at the end. It’s something we’ve been thinking about and talking about all summer; being able to go out here and stop those one or two plays and making sure we do what we have to do to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

On the status of the defense this year — “It’s going to be great. We’re reloading. Some people say when you lose a lot of people a lot different things can happen but I don’t think we’ll miss one beat. We’ll reload just like a gun.”

On adjusting to playing without Brandon Williams — “I don’t think I’m lost. It’s weird, though. I talk to him each and every day and Justin Hardy, too. They’re giving me all the confidence in the world, telling me to do what I have to do. I’m a senior this year and I want to take this team by storm and lead this team. Being able to talk to them and get confidence helps a lot.”

Senior cornerback Josh Hawkins

On building on his success from last season — “I just need to go out there and work hard. I can’t just settle for the season I had last year. I can’t just go into games thinking they’re going to not throw my way. I can’t expect Virginia Tech to not throw my way because of the success I had against them last year or any other teams like that. I’m very excited this year, we have a great schedule, we have a great defense, offense, we’re so excited.”

On which non-conference game excites him the most — “I can’t wait to play in The Swamp. We all can’t wait to play in The Swamp. It’s going to be a great atmosphere, a great game. We all can’t wait to get to work down there. Also Navy and BYU, we’re excited to have a great season this year.”

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