First Morning In Books For Marshall Football

The first morning practice for the Marshall football team led to Coach Mark Snyder calling the team up at period 22 and blowing off some steam. With the first day in pads yesterday, and concentrating on working the short yardage game this morning, the head coach saw some things he pointed out to the team as a group before turning the talk over to former MU coach, Red Dawson.

Dawson, who attended practice as did former MU player Carl Lee, was one of the coaches who helped rebuild the Young Thundering Herd in 1971. Dawson was recruiting by car, and so missed the airplane trip that killed 75 persons as the Herd was returning from a game at East Carolina. "Red was a great football player in his time, played with some great football players," said Snyder of Dawson, a former All-American at Florida State. "He was on his way to becoming a great coach before the tragedy struck. Who knows where Red would be today if that adversity had not happened. He's got a lot of football knowledge. Football is still about running and tackling and that's what he spoke about today."

During the practice, coaches were more animated as they tried to take the intensity level up in the heat. "Good, hot practice," said Snyder. "We got a little bit done, even though they were a little sluggish and expect to have a great practice this afternoon. It is hot out here, but it will be hot in Miami, so we need to go. It felt like it was 108 on the turf today." While the actual temperature was around 88 degrees, the humidity was up at around 60 percent. This afternoon, the high is expected to be 96-97 degrees with a "feels-like" of 106 or more. The staff is pushing extra water breaks and extra hydration between practices.

With another practice coming in the afternoon, Snyder thought the team needed pushed this morning. "Kids will be kids. It's our job to push and motivate them," said Snyder. "Coaches take them where they can't take themselves, that is what we are supposed to do." The defense, which most observers thought were topped by the offense in Tuesday's "Hoot-N-Holler" as well as at practice, did bring a little more intensity to the morning session than yesterday afternoon. "A little bit," said Snyder, but quickly turned the conversation to the play of the morning.

With the offense in first-and-ten at its own five-yard line, Chubb Small fumbled on third down and Ashton Hall scooped up the ball and ran in for a defensive touchdown in one-on-one for the units. On came the second teams, and freshman Darius Marshall took an inside handoff, cut off some great blocking to the outside and out raced the defense for a 96-yard touchdown run. "How about Darius Marshall?" said Snyder. "Chubb fumbles the ball, its a 14-point swing and the young man gets in there and goes 90 (yards)." Small and Kelvin Turner are trying to hang on to the one-two spots at the running back position, but Terrell Edwards and Marshall are certainly pushing. Following up a fumble with a long touchdown certainly will be noticed by the offensive staff. "Pretty good timing," said Snyder, who also complimented the second unit for the blocking on that play. "We've got pretty good players up there, they just don't know completely what they are doing yet. I was really amazed with the cut at the second level (by Marshall)."

The Herd threw swing passes and concentrated on running the ball this morning, but the afternoon session will be airing the ball out. "We will be passing this afternoon, working on finesse," said Snyder. "More finesse, we banged them up this morning so more finesse this afternoon." Despite the concentration on running, there were some nice receptions in the morning. Cody Slate caught two for 47 yards, including a 40-yard effort from quarterback Brian Anderson. Anderson also found Courtney Edmonson for three catches for 44 yards. Bernard Morris hit Shawn Lauzon for a 25-yard gain, then later found Edmonson for a 29-yard completion. He and Anderson threw the only two touchdowns, to Brian Shope and Slate respectively, in ten plays from the ten-yard line in pass skel.

On the defensive side, Hall's fumble recovery for a touchdown appeared to come from a strip by tackles Byron Tinker and Ryland Wilson. Zearrick Mathews had some nice open-field tackles at corner. Josh Johnson, Vinny Curry and Jon Moravec all had passes broken up and linebacker Maurice Kitchens had an interception of Wesley Beardain. Quarterback pressures were recorded by Curry and J. Johnson (twice) while DeMetrius Thompson and Mario Harvey recorded sacks on QB Chris Smith.

NOTES: Snyder announced that Thursday's single practice (at 3 p.m.) and both of Friday's practices (at 9:40 and 5 p.m.) will be opened to Herd fans, but the Saturday scrimmage will be closed...T.J. Drakeford was dropped in injury status to a "gold" jersey today (live, no contact) while guard David Ziegler shed his "blue" (no practice) jersey as well...The blue jersey list has Doug Legursky (knee), Albert McClellan (knee), Tavaris Thompson (hamstring), J.J. Johnson (ankle), Terrell Edwards (slight concussion), Montel Glasco and receiver Antonio Smith...Freshman No. 42, Stuart Lips, has changed from receiver to defensive back. Lips played last year at Paintsville (Ky.) High School, but is originally from Heron Creek, New South Wales, Australia...The MU Football Women's Clinic is set for August 23, starting at 6:30 p.m., at the Big Green Room at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

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