The Drive with Josh Graham.
He's confident, smart, witty, vicious, brutal, addictive, a monster. Maybe, but he knows his sports. Back to The Drive with Josh Graham on Sports Hub Triad. Robert, I know you understand this, but every time I have houseguests over, I completely terrify them because near the door, I have a cardboard cutout of former ECU head football coach, Ruffin McNeil. And I understand, as weird as that is, it's even weirder now that he wasn't even the last coach that ECU had, but the one before that.
For those who don't know, I'm an East Carolina graduate. Robert Walsh, who produces this show, is an ECU guy as well. And we're now being joined by the guy who's the current head coach at ECU, Mike Houston.
And Ruff, he's a lovable guy, and I found this interesting. I don't think I told you this in our past visits, Mike, but the moment you were hired, I actually heard from folks at Oklahoma, Ruff, Lincoln Riley, and they told me that they were a huge fan of the hire from you at JMU. Is that relationship completely fixed now, ECU, the relationship between the football program, Ruffin McNeil, and Lincoln Riley? Well, I think, you know, my relationship with him is great. And, you know, we had Ruff set to come back and do our coaches clinic this past spring.
And I think that would have been a great step towards getting him back on campus. So it's still, I would say we're getting there. And, you know, Lincoln has been, you know, very helpful with our staff since we got here. I think they want to help. They want to be positive supporters of our program. I think there's probably still a little bit of healing that needs to be done on both sides. And so it's definitely something that's going to get done just because of the positive relationship that myself and our staff have with those two individuals. Yeah. And Ruffin McNeil, he loves East Carolina.
So that's going to get done one way or the other. How tough is it? Give me a sense. How tough is it over there in Eastern North Carolina to not have baseball at Clark LeClair Stadium and getting to see Cliff Godwin's guy do their thing? Well, I mean, it's everything. You know, it's, you know, missing the baseball season.
Certainly Cliff had a very strong team, probably had a shot to make a run at Omaha. You know, they got that taken away from this spring. You know, we were, you know, I would say at a high point since I got here with the football program, getting ready to head into spring practice that we were all very excited about. You know, you have the track and field athletes and everybody else.
You know, it's really, it's been tough. You know, all that got taken away from all those student athletes and the coaches because of this, you know, this virus deal that we're having to deal with nationally. Mike Houston with us, ECU head football coach. This is something I'm always interested with ECU and philosophies change from coach to coach. What do you view as the ideal non-conference schedule for ECU football? Because a big part of the program's identity through the decades, I even saw the game that was airing on Saturday or put on the web where ECU knocked off Miami at Carter-Finley Stadium back in 1999.
You think about what Lincoln and Ruff did just a handful of years ago and what you're trying to do again. What do you view as the non-conference schedule ideally you'd like to play year to year? I think a mix of regional opponents is probably what, you know, everybody would like to see. You know, I think, you know, the matchup with NC State last year was great. We play South Carolina this coming fall. You know, North Carolina is always a big rivalry.
You'd love to get, you know, Virginia Tech that kind of got fractured but you'd love to get them back on the schedule. You know, I think those games like that, their regional matchups between the top schools, I think those are ones that the fans get the most excited about and the players get the most excited about. I mean, it would make a lot of sense to play App State more regularly and you guys are going to start doing that next year, right? Yeah, I think we've got them next year in neutral site in Charlotte and then we've got them again maybe the following year or two years later. So, we've got a couple of games coming up with App State and certainly, you know, that's a program that has, you know, for years was FCS obviously, which I'm very familiar with that level, and it made a really positive transition. So, now they're getting, you know, a lot more respect nationally, especially with the seasons that they've had the last two years.
So, I think our fan base would see that as a great matchup as well. It's Mike Houston, ECU head football coach with us here on Sports Hub Triad. Every time you're with us, I have to point out that your coaching career after your days in college started here in the Triad. Have to make sure to point that out, but what are you telling your guys, Mike, when they come to you with concerns? Something that's been reported, concerns that there might not be football this fall.
How do you address that? Pick me behind the scenes. Well, you know, we had a team meeting yesterday, a Zoom virtual team meeting, and, you know, we talked about that subject and, you know, everything that we hear right now is that we, you know, we're going to have a season. We hope it starts on time. Whether it does or not, you know, is going to be dictated by how long it takes us to get out of this, you know, this situation that we're in with, you know, with safety. Because the most important thing is the safety and well-being of our student athletes and everyone around the program. So I think that we'll play at some point, hopefully on time, but, you know, even if we start mid-September or so, as long as we get out there and we're playing football. Let's cut through it, though. There are some people who say, oh, you need to have spring ball and you need to have the full month to get ready for a season in order to play and have it be competent level football.
Give me the real answer. How long does it take to get a team ready? Like, if you're talking bare essential needs in order to fire things up. Well, I think the big thing is to safely get everybody ready.
Absolutely. If you're out, you know, if you look up and we're out four months, you know, away from each other, you know, it's going to take four to six weeks training-wise to get the players back into the physical condition that they would need to get through a preseason camp. And, you know, what you want to make sure of is, you know, the preseason camp prepares them for the long season. I mean, you could go out and play a game pretty quick, but, you know, what you don't want is you don't want to look up and three or four weeks in, your injuries are just off the charts because your players are not conditioned and prepared for the grind of the college football season. So, you know, what we all think is we all think that it's going to take, you know, about four to six weeks to prepare for preseason camp. And then you would like to have a full preseason camp. So, you know, that means we got to be back to doing something by beginning of July to start on time. And then the later it goes, you know, into the end of the summer, then you might see the opening date get pushed back a little bit. I know you've been trying to keep tabs on everybody, safeties obviously first, and then obviously you have the priorities with your family and such, but with the added time indoors, what's the best movie or show you've watched the last few weeks?
Well, you know, I've got an 11-year-old and I've got a 7-year-old, so most of my viewing is dictated by them. You know, last night we watched Paul Blart, Mall Cop 2. There was a sequel? There was a sequel, amazingly enough, yes.
Oh, and they were riveted by it. We watched Secret Life of Pets 2 this past weekend. So, you know, we're doing a couple of movie nights a week. I remember when you visited with us once, you said that you loved Chappelle's Show and that maybe the character that was closest to your heart was Ashy Larry. What's your favorite Chappelle's Show sketch?
Oh, I don't know. There's so many. I mean, the Ashy Larry stuff is obviously really good. You know, I always liked the ones with Prince and Rick James. Those are classics. What the Five Fingers Say to the Face.
Those are classic, classic. Hold one second, though. Everybody calm down. Mike Houston, have you ever done What Did the Five Fingers Say to the Face to Somebody? No, no.
I haven't. Oh, man. Well, it's just good to hear from you. And I'm sure a lot of pirate fans around here feel the same way. When this all clears up, I'll make a deal with you. I'll treat you to the national championship winning SUPDOG sometime soon.
We'll make that happen. Oh, no doubt. No doubt. That's kept us entertained a little bit this past week. So Brett and those guys, they're huge supporters of ours.
And Brett Oliverio, Once Upon a Time. This is the craziest part about the story. I don't even know if you know this. SUPDOG, it's a bar in Greenville, America.
And I'll tell you what, this is a place that is only about 10 or a dozen years old. And Brett took over for his brother who passed away in a house fire trying to save his dogs. Brett came from the world of sports radio. He was a big time radio producer in DC and then took over the joint and now he's expanded it.
It's pretty crazy, right? Right. Yeah.
He's got a venue open in Chapel Hill. He's actually a James Madison graduate. So we kind of have that connection also. So I would say you might see SUPDOGs pop up all over the state. Is that part of the recruiting pitch?
Hey, we win national championships here. Here's proof. Well, hey, I promise you, that's a stop. That's a stop for lunch for our recruits from their own official business.
Pretty hopping place. You're absolutely right. You're the best, Mike. Thanks for doing this. No problem. Hey, listen, just want to say one last thing. Thanks to all the healthcare professionals that are going to work daily to try to take care of us and for putting their lives on the line. We all owe you so much.
That's very well said. Thank you, Coach. Yeah.
Hey, have a great day. There you go. Got to get a Go Pirates on the way out of there.
Mike Houston, ECU Pirates head football coach joining us on the drive. Robert, what's the best story you could share with the audience? Experiences you've had at SUPDOGs, which was the winner of Barstool's best bar for the second consecutive year. Barstool to me is a place where whether SUPDOGs is a place to me where whether it was Monday and you go there with for mug night where you can bring any container, any sized container, and they will fill it up for a dollar. It got bumped up to $2 somehow in between. And I realized that when I came back to North Carolina from Colorado back when I was in school. It was only a dollar from my night.
Hey, back when I was in school, we had these things called Four Locos and they were the real stuff. I was there for a mug night one night. And you know when they used to they didn't used to have the top tier balcony.
It was just the bottom. Yeah, they now have like this really elaborate balcony. We had we had a big group and some of my friends were sitting on the edge of it, which is now illegal.
They do not allow anyone to sit on the edge. And we were playing the card game where you put it on your forehead and they have to guess who they are. Yeah, just like you saw in Inglorious Baster.
Exactly. And one of the girls threw her hands up to show who she was. And she tumbled off the back and just landed flat back like a professional wrestler and bumped off of the balcony. The ambulance had to come get her. And I think we got our drinks for free that night.
Thanks to Brett. I'm not sure. B Dot, this sounds like a wondrous place, doesn't it? Yes, it sounds like somewhere I've never been. Would you like to go to Greenville, America with me and Robert sometime go to sup dogs? I do think I'm interested in going. No, no. Aaron's Aaron's telling me I should definitely not go.
It's like it's fun. Aaron's just mad. He's not invited. Aaron, are you not invited? Aaron's definitely invited. I think I would have a great time there.
An apartment down there. We can all crash there this week. I think I think if there is football, if there is football, August twenty ninth, it's week zero. So before week one, ECU is playing Marshall while nobody else in the state is playing. So maybe we can try and organize heading that way as a group for that opener. If there is football. I'm with that.
You would get to see me in very rare air. Yeah. A Greenville Robbie is a completely different beast from the one you see before you. I can attest to that. I actually saw remnants of Greenville Robbie last Saturday night via Zoom chat. That doesn't count.
And we should not talk about that on the air. Why don't I get invited to the Zoom chat? We should.
We should have brought B-Dot in. Hey, you want to hang out this weekend? Sure. Via Zoom chat? Sure. We will Zoom chat it up. Hit me up, bro. Hit my line. As you can hear, B-Dot's in studio. And I'll tell you why. Tom Brady, he should be beloved, not hated. Next on The Drive.
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