ECU's Ruffin McNeill on UNC's "NASCAR" offense
The main question so far this week around North Carolina is, what’s wrong with the offense? After all, the team ranks 82nd in yards per game and 90th in points per game after ranking in the top 15 in both categories last year.
But you wouldn’t know it from talking to East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill. Yes, it’s time for one of my favorite parts of game week, when the coaches talk about how amazing their upcoming opponents are.
Here’s McNeill on UNC’s NASCAR offense, featuring leader Bryn Renner, first-round pick Eric Ebron, standout Sean Tapley and all-conference linemen Russell Bodine and James Hurst, plus some praise for the defense.
On Larry Fedora:
"Larry and I have known each other for a long time from the Oklahoma State days in the Big 12 and his Southern Miss days. Larry has always been a really good football coach - a go-getter - and always an offensive-minded coach. His offense has not changed. They are a "NASCAR", fast-paced [offense].
"Playing in the same division [when Fedora was] at Oklahoma State and in recruiting, we all wanted the same, typical players. We all battled and got after it on the field. I remember when he got the Southern Miss job, we were at a convention in Nashville and he told me he just got the job. I told him I was very proud of him. He did a fine job at Southern Miss and he's doing a solid job at UNC, too."
On quarterback Bryn Renner:
Bryn is a really good general and orchestrator of his offense. He does a good job of understanding what Larry wants and how to distribute the football. He's a really good leader for their offense.”
On tight end Eric Ebron:
"Their tight end Eric Ebron is a special football player. He'll be a first-round draft choice and we'll have to be very aware of where he is. He's done a great job improving on blocking, as well as his ability to play in space. In Larry's offense, he shows where he can play in space and on air, and they do a good job of getting him the football.”
On the receivers:
The guy that always stands out to me on special teams, the return game and at wide receiver is Sean Tapley. He has great quickness and speed, and makes plays. Quinshad Davis is a guy I see Bryn going to quite a bit at receiver. He's rangy and has height. Quinshad is one guy that you see stepping on film. You can't miss him. He's really tall and attacks the ball well.”
On the line:
"Up front, Russell Bodine and James Hurst are their leaders. They're tough, they've been through some experiences and battles and are the leaders of their offensive line. I have no doubt those two guys will get all-conference honors.”
On the defense:
"Defensively, Dan [Disch] has been there a long time with Larry, but Ron West is a guy I've known since I began coaching back in 1985 at Clemson. They're two really good football coaches. Tre Boston is active, athletic and a leader. He's a quarterback on defense and has started three years for them, so he has a lot of battles under his belt. Kareem Martin stands out every time you see him on film. He's really athletic, gets on the edge, makes plays and finishes plays. Norkeithus Otis is a linebacker/defensive end, which they move around a little bit standouts when watching the film. They have good team speed on defense. Those guys play extremely hard. I'm looking forward to the challenge and the week."
What Georgia Tech did well:
"They did a good job of being resilient. UNC stretched the field on them like they always do, but I think Georgia Tech did a good job of responding and making plays. It was messy down there. I saw they did some things, but they weren't fancy or anything like that. There will be some plays made in games like this - like nip and tuck. Four or five plays decide the game and you need to go full speed so you don't miss them. It was a hard-fought game. There was a lot of physicality in that game."
On what a win would mean:
"Wins are big. I just want to get on the field again for our players. The last game we played, that was a tough locker room to address. I've addressed a lot of locker rooms as a coordinator and a head coach, and its tough. These kids have invested a lot and I want to win for them first. All games are big to a coach. I understand the in-state rivalry. I'm looking forward to the competition, the contest and the challenge, but I'm looking forward to doing what we need to do to make sure we have success on Saturday."