GREENVILLE — Team captains for the ECU Pirates are selected at the beginning of each week by votes from the players.
After engineering ECU to a come-from-behind victory over Tulsa on Sunday, junior quarterback Dominique Davis was unanimously selected by his peers to lead the Pirates this week.
Davis, a junior college transfer from Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College by way of Boston College, heaved a game-winning, 33-yard touchdown pass that landed into the hands of freshman Justin Jones.
Davis, who was named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week, lit up Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium to the tune of 383 passing yards and five touchdowns. He added 29 rushing yards and a score on the ground.
“(Dominque) did a great job,” ECU coach Ruffin McNeill said on Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “He is athletic and he is very football-savvy. He has great football knowledge. He is a field house rat. He watches a lot of film.”
The Pirates now have a short week to prepare for a noon kickoff against Memphis on Saturday. The two-time C-USA defending champions are looking to get a head start this season by moving to 2-0 in the conference with a win over the Tigers.
“I try to approach it this way, that every game is a big game,” McNeill said. “We take each game one at a time. Let’s worry about the things we didn’t do well. Memphis is next and we have respect for them, but one thing we can control is how well we prepare, how well we study film and how hard we work.”
The team watched film on Sunday and practiced Monday evening. Because of an NCAA-mandated off day, the Pirates rested on Tuesday.
“I’m pretty good at bringing them back down to Earth,” McNeill said. “I have no problem bringing up things that I see on film. We have not accomplished anything yet. We’ve won one game and it was a great win for our program and university, but now we have to put that game to the side.”
The emphasis, McNeill said, is continued improvement.
ECU is working diligently on its defense. The Pirates allowed 579 yards of total offense to Tulsa, including 399 in the air by Hurricane quarterback G.J. Kinne.
Entering the game, most of the players either didn’t play last season or played limited snaps. Only cornerbacks Emanuel Davis and Travis Simmons were starters in 2009.
McNeill said he liked the effort of defensive linemen Josh Smith, Robert Jones, Maurice Mercer, Justin Dixon, Marke Powell and Matt Milner. To make things even better, defensive lineman Michael Brooks (right knee) and Antonio Allison (right ankle) are expected to return Saturday after missing time due to injuries. Jimmy Booth (left knee) is listed as doubtful on the injury report.
On the offensive side, McNeill was impressed with the ECU debut of junior college transfer Lance Lewis, who had six catches for 105 yards. Dwayne Harris had 121 receiving yards.
McNeill expects the offense to further implement wide receivers Michael Bowman, Dayon Arrington, Jeremy Davis, Justin Jones and Mike Price into the game plan.
“The biggest improvement comes from game one to game two and then from game two to game three,” McNeill said. “The expectations among the group are very high. They expect to do well. The kids believe in themselves. They’ve paid the price. They’ve deposited a lot of energy at work and we’ve pushed them hard.”
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Written by Adam Thompson