Pirates' Jackson and Ruffin get arrested|Jackson no longer with East Carolina

Published 7:59 am Tuesday, March 30, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — East Carolina’s crop of running backs got a little bit thinner on Monday as the school announced it was cutting ties with junior Brandon Jackson and indefinitely suspending Giavanni Ruffin after the two were arrested over the weekend.
Jackson, 20, who was the Pirates’ second leading rusher last season with 316 yards, was charged with underage consumption of alcohol, intoxication and simple affray according to ECU’s press release on Monday. The incident was Jackson’s third alcohol related arrest in a year.
Ruffin, 21, was charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer according to the same release, but will remain a member of the Pirates.
First-year head coach Ruffin McNeill acted swiftly and on Monday said it was his decision on how to discipline the two athletes and that professional conduct is a must.
“I set the standard when I took over the job,” McNeill said. “There are certain things that I believe in, professionalism is one of them. We want them to have class and conduct themselves in a championship style. It’s unfortunate that those things happen, but nobody is above the football team.”
While Jackson is banished, Ruffin, who rushed for 308 yards and five TDs last season, will have to jump through some hoops to get back on the field.
“Right now his suspension is indefinite and there are some procedures that he will have to go through … Then we will make a decision,” McNeill said.
Pirates hit field for fifth spring practice
The Pirates wrapped up their fifth practice on Monday and McNeill said he saw a dip in the players’ effort after turning in a solid practice on Saturday.
“We had a really good day on Saturday and took a bit of step back today,” McNeill said. “I thought the fundamental aspect could have taken a step up today and the execution level on all three sides of the ball could have picked up today, but that’s what spring is for.”
McNeill noted that he was pleased with how fast the offense is learning the system.
“They are further along then (Texas Tech) was 10 years ago when we started this offense there,” McNeill said.
The first-year coach also cited that his team was having trouble adjusting to his up-tempo style.
“(They’re struggling with) the consistency of tempo and picking up the speed of the game,” McNeill said. “That part is new for them so we have to keep emphasizing that.”
Junior college transfer Diavalo Simpson, who signed with the Pirates as an offensive lineman in December after playing at East Mississippi Community College, has experienced action on both sides of the ball so far this spring … He spent the majority of Monday’s practice at the defensive tackle position … DT Josh Smith missed his second-straight workout because of an upper leg injury. (ECU)
ECU’s 2010 spring practice schedule
Next Workout: Wednesday, March 31 (3:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.)
Remaining Workouts: April 2, April 3 (scrimmage), April 5, April 7, April 9, April 10 (scrimmage), April 12, April 14 and April 17 (Purple-Gold Game, 2:00 p.m.)
Remaining General Public/Open Practice Date: April 14