2013 East Carolina Spring Football Analysis
East Carolina Pirates 2013 ...
Head Coach: Ruffin McNeill
Why To Get Excited … the quarterback, all-league running back and top receiver are joining forces for another year together in Greenville. The Pirates produced at least 34 points in five of the final seven games, peppering Conference USA defenses with balance. The returns of QB Shane Carden, RB Vintavious Cooper and WR Justin Hardy will give ECU a shot of being even more prolific in 2013.
| 2013 Schedule|
8/31 Old Dominion
9/7 Florida Atlantic
9/14 Virginia Tech
9/21 OPEN DATE
9/28 at North Carolina
10/5 at Middle Tennessee
10/12 at Tulane
10/19 Southern Miss
10/26 OPEN DATE
11/2 at FIU
11/23 at NC State
11/30 at Marshall
Why To Be Grouchy … the program’s ceiling will have a hard cap as long as the defense remains a purple sieve. East Carolina was powerless against the better offenses on the schedule, yielding 102 points in the final two games alone. The Pirates are athletic and experienced, particularly at linebacker, but lack the size and fundamentals to make critical stops on a consistent basis.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … pass defense. While not a lot went right on defense in 2012, East Carolina was especially porous when the ball was in the air. The team gave up 28 touchdown passes, picking off just 10, and rarely shut the door on third downs. FS Damon Magazu can be an enforcer out of the secondary, but the Pirates are banking on someone, like CB Adonis Armstrong, evolving into the type of player who shuts down the other guy’s best receiver.
Non-Conference Games: Old Dominion, Virginia Tech, at North Carolina at NC State
Games Against the West: Tulane, Tulsa
Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 7-5
Likely Finish: 9-3
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Old Dominion, Florida Atlantic, at Middle Tennessee, at Tulane, Southern Miss, at FIU, Tulsa, UAB, at Marshall
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: Virginia Tech, at North Carolina, at NC State
Schedule Analysis: The Pirates aren’t taking it easy with the non-conference slate going to North Carolina and NC State to go along with a home date against Virginia Tech and the season opener against an Old Dominion team that dominated the FCS last season. With four road games in a five game midseason stretch, there’s only one home game against Southern Miss between September 14th and November 9th. Having to face Tulsa from the West is a rough break, but at least the game is at home. If everything goes according to plan, there shouldn’t be any problems in conference play - outside of the showdown against the Golden Hurricane – until the regular season finale at Marshall. That could be for the East title.
Team Concerns For 2013: The Pirates have enough talent returning to win the newly-shaped Conference USA and do it convincingly. However, the pass defense has to be better after getting bombed on regularly, allowing 276 yards per game. Both starting corners - Jacobi Jenkins and Leonard Paulk - have to be replaced in what will be one of the team's biggest position battles. The ground game has to be stronger with Vintavious Cooper needing a bit more room to run for an attack that averaged a mere 135 yards per game.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Wide receivers. The Pirates went big on offense last year, too, and now there are more weapons to add to the lot. Linebacker Devaris Brunson is the best new recruit, and offensive tackle Brandon Smith will eventually start, but Isaiah Jones and Trevon Brown could be the keys to a deep group of receivers to help the Ruffin McNeill passing game shine. Kurt Benkert is a good quarterback pickup who committed early and should be a factor by 2015.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
94. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offense. The Pirates haven’t had too much of a problem putting up points and getting the passing game going under Ruffin McNeill, but now he needs to load up for the near future. More receiver talent is a must, but coming up with more options for the offensive line is also a need that’ll be addressed. After bringing in a slew of defensive backs in 2009, this year’s class needs more for the future.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
76. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. What does the worst defense in America need? People who can actually play defense. JUCO defensive ends John Lattimore and Leroy Vick are versatile enough to be moved around, while 290-pound Will Foxx has anchor potential. The biggest position upgrade could be at safety where Danny Webster and Domonique Lennon might be used out of the gate. Offensively, JUCO transfer Reggie Bullock is an intriguingly fast running back.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 99. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Offensive
tackles. New head coach Ruffin McNeill didn't have
any time to do anything with the recruiting class,
but he ended up getting four excellent offensive
linemen to contribute right away. JUCO transfer
Anthony Garrett will be an instant factor on the
tackle depth chart, while Drew Gentry and Taylor
Hudson were two of the team's best recruits.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 83. That Class Was
Heavy On ... defensive backs. The Pirates have chosen to accentuate a team strength by bolstering an already talented secondary. Six defensive backs are the backbone of a relatively small class put together by Skip Holtz and his assistants. Damonte Terry, the top safety in the mix, is still raw, but has the speed and athletic ability to overshoot his grade at some point down the road.