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Switching to the 3-4

Last season East Carolina finished 6-7 despite ranking 120th in the nation in total yards and 119th in points allowed.

Head coach Ruffin McNeill recognized the need for a change to his defense. "So, right after the season we made the decision to make the change."

McNeill cited three main factors for making the switch. First, he felt it fit their personnel better as the Pirates seemed to have a surplus of linebackers; but not enough depth along the defensive line. Second, he felt that the quality and quantity of recruitable talent within their geographic base was far stronger at linebacker than for defensive linemen. Third, McNeill believes that the 3-4 is a more flexible option for the Pirates in Conference USA where they face more passing oriented offenses. 

Once the decision was made to make the switch, McNeill sent his staff to visit with coaches at BYU and with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

McNeill and his Pirates open up Saturday night at South Carolina, a certain test for the new defense.