ECU Football Game One Quotables

GREENVILLE -- Inside ECU Sports caught up with ECU players and head coach after the Pirates season opener. Below are quotes from conversations with Ruffin McNeill, Blake Kemp, Chris Hairston and Zeek Bigger.

Head Coach Ruffin McNeill

On opening season with Towson -- “Give Towson credit but also give our kids credit for finding ways to win the game. We had a lot of replacements but nobody made excuses about it and I thought we saw some guys that stepped in and did a very good job. First game, deals happen from emotion instead of playing off enthusiasm.”

On Blake Kemp’s performance -- “You saw Blake (Kemp) step in. In two weeks make a transition as a football team and offense going thru a quarterback battle then because of injury you have to make another battle and adjustment. Blake did a good job of operating the offense and a good job of answering from Dave Nichol and Brad Davis in the run game.”

On the defensive performance -- “I thought early, especially after the first drive we settled down and started doing our job. There were sometimes when guys tried to do too much and I get that happens but the last drive I think speaks for itself and really in the first drive off the half, if we don’t get the selfish penalty yardage instead of a field goal we probably hold them.”

On Penalties --“I think the difference is us, we talked about it and addressed it in practice and we addressed it in camp. The administrative penalties which is an off-sides to fundamental penalties which is a holding or hands to the face and now the last one is a selfish penalty, which is something a person does had absolutely nothing with anything at all but himself and the kids understand that and we meet on it each day. Will do a better job as a team and I’ll do a better job to emphasize it.

Starting Quarterback Blake Kemp

On getting in a flow -- “I felt good, it’s a lot easier than running against our guys in the same plays for forever so it was a lot of fun out there tonight. It felt great to get out there, obviously the big run helped with Chris (Hairston) and we just have to keep doing that consistently throughout the game and not just spurts of it so that’s one thing we can work on, just being consistent for four quarters.”

On nerves going into the game -- “A little bit, little nervous and anxious but the first snap went and it just felt normal so it was good.”

On not attempting many deep passes -- “We ran the ball so well that we didn’t really have to throw the ball downfield and that’s credit to the offensive line and to Chris (Hairston) and that was the way we wanted it.”

Senior Zeek Bigger

On first game thoughts --“It was a pretty good test, pretty good workout, it’s just the first game. We had to knock off the rust and just do what we have to do to get better each and every day and will watch this film and see what we can correct.”

On Chris Hairston’s performance -- “He had a great game,” “He came to the sideline and I told him that’s four for you bud and he dapped me up and I told him congratulations because he’s been wanting to do this and has been talking about it all camp and he’s showing what he can do right now.”

Senior running back Chris Hairston

On the run game -- “I feel like the run game controls the game and it’s going to give us our momentum and help us control the whole game.”

On being the top running back -- “It felt great, it’s my fifth year here and I’ve played behind some great backs and I learned a lot from them, I’m glad I had the opportunity to do that and it helped me go get here today and do what I did tonight. I learned everything from them, I would always listen and take notes from them, how to elevate every dimension of my game.”

On Blake Kemp -- “Blake (Kemp) did a great job, he stepped in when he had too. He knows what he’s doing and clicked right with us and we had that chemistry and it’s getting better and better each practice so each game will get better also.”

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