ECU dismisses Arrington

Published 7:58 pm Monday, September 24, 2012

East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill speaks during a press conference Monday at East Carolina University. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

GREENVILLE — A sour weekend turned a bit uglier for East Carolina as it announced on Monday that senior wide receiver Dayon Arrington was dismissed from the team after being arrested and charged possession with intent to sell and deliver drug paraphernalia by the Greenville Police Department early Sunday morning.
Arrington, who has caught two passes for 36 yards this season, had been previously suspended for one game by the Pirates at the start of the year for violating team rules and has run out of chances at East Carolina.
“Dayon Arrington has been dismissed from the football team. We made that decision (Sunday) once we got all the information.” McNeill said. “I think when you look back at us we’ve been consistent with our discipline and we’ve taken each incident and handled it individually and have (acted) accordingly. We feel like the representation of our program is at the forefront of what we stand for.”
The news of Arrington’s arrest added salt to the Pirates’ wounds stemming from a 27-6 loss to in-state rival North Carolina on Saturday in which the ECU offense amassed a mere 233 yards as sophomore QB Shane Carden was sacked seven times.
Carden, who was making only the second start of his career, completed 17 of his 30 pass attempts for 124 yards and has thrown for  295 yards and one touchdown in the last two games.
The ECU offensive line has done a solid job in pass protection for the most part this season and on Monday McNeill said that the blame for the seven-sack ambush at the hands of the Tar Heels should be spread around.
“It’s a combination. Our offensive line had protected well versus Appalachian State, South Carolina and Southern Miss; three defensive lines that get after you,” McNeill said. “I think Shane will admit that he needs to get rid of the football, which he will, and that might be (from me) pressing about taking care of the football. … Another thing is that our wide receivers need to make sure they are running routes at top speed.”
As the Pirates head back home to take on UTEP (1-3, 0-0) this Saturday McNeill said that he will look into simplifying the offense for his inexperienced QB.
“We talked about scaling down a little bit to make sure he feels comfortable,” McNeill said. “He’s grasping (the offense) but when the bullets are flying and the game is going on you want to take a step back a little bit, but we don’t want him to hesitate. It’s not that we’re going to simplify it much, but we might take a few things out.”
Aside from scaling down the offense, a consistent running game would greatly aid Carden. East Carolina has gone to a running back by committee-style attack this year and is still trying to figure out all the pieces to the puzzle.
“We want to be able to establish the run, we feel good about our backs,” McNeill said. “Over four games you start to see what guy can do what the best and who needs a little bit more carries and touches.”
After four games the Pirates rank 113th nationally with an average of 96 rushing yards per contest.
Of the ECU backs that have 20 or more carries, junior Vintavious Cooper has been the most effective as he has rushed 28 times for 153 yards  to compile a 5.5 yards per attempt average. Junior Reggie Bullock (23-84) is second with a 3.7 yards per carry average, while junior Michael Dobson (36-120) is third, averaging 3.3 yards per attempt.

The rise in play of 6-1, 327-pound sophomore nose tackle Terry Williams has allowed McNeill and his staff to experiment with moving senior Michael Brooks to the defensive end position.
Brooks, a 6-3, 276-pound senior preseason all-conference selection began his career as a 4-3 defensive tackle before dutifully moving to the nose tackle position in the Pirates’ 3-4 scheme despite being a tad undersized for the job.
The play of Williams, along with the promise shown by freshman NG Terrell Stanley, allowed ECU to start Brooks at defensive end against North Carolina and that is something the McNeill will consider doing again this weekend against UTEP.

The Pirates are down to only two players on the injured list this week as CB Kristopher Sykes and Brooks have been subtracted from the report.
Defensive end Justin Dixon, who is out for the season with a knee injury, and CB Jacobi Jenkins (leg) are both out for Saturday.