An Inside Look At ECU's Offense
By Dan Harralson
Conference USA media day took place in Dallas and Football.com's Dan Harralson went inside the East Carolina offense.
Anyone who saw ECU play last year or looked at college football team statistics knows that ECU is all about offense. Head coach Ruffin McNeill and quarterback Shane Carden talked to Football.com.
What are the expectations this year?
Our expectations are to get better. I like our team. We have great leaders. We're ready; we have our visions and goals. We're ready to attack our process and just get after it.
Talk about your up-tempo spread offense. Is it something you always want to see out there, or do you adapt to your personnel?
We want to see how many plays we can get a game. Right now, we're at 85; we want to get 100. Shane and those guys can get that.
Does running this offense help in recruiting?
I think it does. I think it helps both sides. I know quarterbacks want to, receivers know they are going to have their hands on the ball, running backs, too. It doesn't have to be hurry-up and throw it; it can be hurry-up and run it, too, if need be.
Do you think the player safety rules helps speed up your offense even more?
I think so. I'm always big on player safety. I think it always needs to be in the forefront. It should speed it up, but it's whatever is best for the players.
The Big 12 is adding an extra referee, and that referee's only responsibility is to spot the ball. Would you like to see an extra referee, and do you think it would speed up offenses even more?
Yes. When the player gets up, toss that ball to ref. Get it quick and lined up and, yeah, we would like to see that extra referee (laughing) and get that thing going. We want that; that would be good.
Talk about playing at ECU on game day.
It's local stores hanging Pirate flags. Game day. It's tailgating all around; it's a place for football.
What are your thoughts on the offense this year?
The offense got better each week. We kept improving. I've seen it this offseason, too. The way we're throwing, 7-on-7, it's going pretty well and really looking forward to playing with a lot of the same guys this year.
What teams were you recruited by coming out of high school?
I was talking to a lot of schools in Texas, but the only ones that officially offered me were East Carolina, Central Michigan and a couple of smaller schools like Sam Houston State.
Talk about how the ECU coaches have developed you while at ECU.
McNeill is a great coach. He's mentored us, and I've learned a lot from him. I've grown up, and this is my fourth year underneath his wing — him and (offensive coordinator) Lincoln Riley, as well. They coached me to be a better player and person.
Do you like the up-tempo spread offense?
I love it. I played a little bit of spread offense in high school, not the same tempo, but I love when we get that no-huddle going. I can tell the teammates like it, too. They like to go as fast as we can go.
Was it hard to adjust to playing within the spread offense?
The offense is pretty good when you start speeding it up a little bit, but your mind tends to get rolling. You have to hurry up, but at the same time, you have to slow down your mind. You practice enough; by the time you get to games, it's second-hand.