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Ruffin McNeill explains importance of staff chemistry

With an offense going one way and a defense going another way, East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill says staff chemistry is absolutely critical.

After a 76-35 loss to Navy, the ECU defense now ranks 117th in scoring defense (41.3 ppg) and 115th in total defense (456 ypg). 

On the offensive side, the Pirates are 14th nationally in scoring offense (36.4 ppg) and 21st nationally in total offense (436 ypg). East Carolina is 7th nationally in passing offense.

McNeill says, “The one thing in building the staff was that it was constructed on chemistry. Anybody can handle the good times, but when tough times happen, that’s when the integrity of the staff and team is tested. I have been a part of staffs that when things got tough, it divided. Instead of saying ‘us’ and ‘we,’ it became ‘them,’ ‘they,’ ‘you’ and ‘I.’

“When Coach Holland and the board named me, it was important for me, knowing there would be tough times and good times, to get that staff chemistry. There will be a lot of cheering times here, but there will be tough times. During those hard times are when the staff chemistry is very important.

“You’ll see Lincoln and Brian talking all the time. Lincoln apologized to Brian for the four fumbles. Brian wasn’t worried about that, he knows things happen. Brian was as disappointed as anybody in the defense because he works so hard.

“I have veteran guys on my staff who have been in it a long time. The key is that great chemistry. Times are a little tough right now, just like after the Virginia Tech and North Carolina games. We held tough and tight during that time and we will do the same thing now. Those guys are working hard and pulling for one another on all three sides of the ball.”

At 5-4 in his first season as head coach, Ruffin McNeill’s team will finish at UAB, at Rice, before hosting SMU in the season finale.