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ECSU accepts challenges at CIAA Football Media Day

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From staff reports

Friday, July 20, 2018

ROANOKE, Va. — Anthony Jones is aware of the obstacles that are ahead for the Elizabeth City State football team.

Jones, who is set to lead the Vikings in his first season, took part in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s Football Media Day on Thursday morning.

Jones was joined by senior linebacker Miacah Cooper and senior tight end Carlton Evans during the team’s media availability.

The coach, who was named head coach of the Vikings in April, will lead a program for the first time since he was the head coach at Football Championship Subdivision program Alabama A&M in 2013.

“I am a late hire,” Jones acknowledged. “Still working on the staff. We didn’t have the opportunity to have spring ball this year, because, again, I wasn’t hired until about mid-April.”

Jones replaced Earnest Wilson, who was fired in March after two seasons leading ECSU on the gridiron.

Jones noted that he identified issues that needed to be corrected within the program and added some elements have been corrected while other areas are a work in progress.

“We are going to be working until the very end,” he said. “We’re not making any excuses. We’ll come out each and every ball game. We’re going to compete. We’ll try to put our kids in situations where they can have success.”

The ECSU head coach returns to the gridiron after spending nearly two seasons away from the game.

Jones’ last coaching job at the college level was as the offensive coordinator at FCS program Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2016.

“It’s good to be back doing what I love doing,” Jones said. “Football is part of it, but the main part is helping to develop young student-athletes.”

Evans, who was named to the CIAA’s preseason all-league team on Wednesday, acknowledged that he was excited to play under Jones, who was a member of the 1987 Washington Redskins club that won a Super Bowl.

“He’s going to personally work with me and the tight ends and the team,” Evans said. “I am ready to get back to work.”

Cooper, who was third on the team last season with 48 total tackles, acknowledged the need to get back to the basics.

Carlton noted that he stayed in touch with other players during the summer months.

Jones acknowledged the need to add to his coaching staff.

The coach added that having trust in an assistant coach is key.

The coach made a point to note that he believes ECSU’s roster is not lacking talent.

“Our cupboard is not bare,” he said. “We have some kids that can play college football. We just have to teach them how to play college football.”

The coach acknowledged that the team lost key players from last season, which includes Daquan Neal, who was a three-year starter at quarterback.

“We have some key personnel within our organization,” Jones said. “We just have to put it all together.”

The Vikings posted a 4-6 overall record last season and were predicted to finish fifth in the six-team CIAA Northern Division this season.

ECSU opens its 10-game 2018 campaign at home on Sept. 1 against Central State (Ohio).

North Carolina-Pembroke welcomes ECSU to Pembroke on Sept. 8 for a Week 2 matchup.

The Vikings will host Winston-Salem State at the Down East Viking Football Classic in Rocky Mount on Sept. 15 in a non-conference clash.

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