The Herd worked full gear on Monday morning, and will come back at 3 p.m. in shells (shoulder pads and helmets), with a single afternoon workout on Tuesday. Wednesday, Marshall will have another double with full pads in the morning and a kick scrimmage early in the afternoon. The seniors and Snyder will then board vans for a trip to "Paint The Capital City Green" at the Embassy Suites in Charleston on Wednesday evening.
ESPN 930-AM will be there 4-6 p.m. for the "Insider Sportsline/Insider Statewide" shows, and also on ESPN 1490-AM in Charleston from 5-6 p.m. for the statewide portion of the two-hour show. Eliot Parker will report on the kick scrimmage from the stadium during the show. Advance only tickets are on sale now for $35. To order tickets, call (304) 696-7138, and the event starts at 6 p.m. with MU President Stephen Kopp, Snyder and other Herd coaches and staff, the MU "Marching Thunder" marching band, the MU cheerleaders and Marco. Mike Kirtner of 93.7, The Dawg, is the master of ceremonies while Woody Woodrum of Herd Insider/ESPN 930-AM assists.
Marshall will adjust its schedule later this week with the game day "walk-through practice" on Friday afternoon instead of Saturday. The practice is a final prep for the game day eight days later against Illinois State for the opening game, August 30, 4:30 p.m. at the stadium, and this practice is closed to the public as are all remaining workouts. On Saturday, however, fans can join two events. From 4-8 p.m. at the Putnam Co. Courthouse in Winfield, it's the annual MU-WVU Tailgate. It is free to the public, and no alcoholic beverages are allowed but food and drinks are available.
Fans can come tailgate to get in the spirit for the Friends of Coal Bowl, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 27. Wear green and white or blue and gold to show team spirit for a chance to win the Most Team Spirit Award presented by Poca Valley Bank. Many events are scheduled, like Pass for Cash courtesy of Mid Way Ford, Tug of War coordinated by Putnam County Parks and Recreation, and MU/WVU Trivia, hosted by Diamond Electric. For a donation toward the building of a new animal shelter, participants can fire a paintball at a Mountaineer or Herd target. There will be a Sticky Wall, Turbo Rush, Monster Wave, Mickey's Fun Factory, and a Slip and Splash for kids and adults alike, sponsored by Putnam County Bank, so bring swim suits and towels. Tri-County YMCA will coordinate other children's activities. Questions should be directed to Karen Haynes, event coordinator, at 304-757-7584 or Brian Donat, county administrator, at 304-586-0201.
The Marshall Quarterback Club will pickup the mantle from there with its annual "Reverse Raffle" party at the MU Memorial Student Union at 8 p.m. in Huntington. The cost of the event is $100 and includes a large cash prise at the end and many other gifts. Plus it is a chance to relax and enjoy an evening with Snyder, his coaches and staff. "Great fundraiser, and ticket sales are going well," said Snyder after the morning workout. He added nearly 100 folks joined the QB Club or bought season tickets at Saturday's scrimmage.
The QB Club is very important for a program the size of Marshall, according to the coach. "That's our vehicle for football, that allows us to run this program like a BCS school," said Snyder of the QB Club, which started under former head coach George Chaump when Snyder played for the Herd in the 1986-87 seasons. "We can do things like getting two vans and take all my seniors to Paint the Capital City Green Wednesday, that's the quarterback club." The club also helps with purchasing additional equipment, both football gear or video items in the past, or computers for the Shewey Building and other improvements.
The team had a crisp workout Monday morning, and there is a feeling of anticipation starting to build as the team is now less than one week from starting classes and 12 days from the opener at home with the Redbirds. "I think what was a liability for us is going to be a strength this year," said Snyder of his defense. He was also complimentary about the scrimmage on Saturday, specifically pointing out Charles Wood at offensive tackle and Delvin Johnson at defensive tackle.
Mark Snyder has some questions about his defense, but not any about Albert McClellan. No. 96 had another great practice in his return from missing the 2007 season with a knee injury. photo by Greg Perry, Herd Insider
"My biggest question is can we stop the run?" said the coach of his defense, and the MU offense rolled up over 200 yards on Saturday in the scrimmage against an admittedly "vanilla" Herd defense. This morning, the defense was a "banana split" as they brought pressure from a number of areas and recorded sacks, forced quick passes and made some big "thud" hits, and some hits that were not just thuds. Albert McClellan, Michael Janac, C.J. Spillman, Ahmed Shakoor, Phillip Gamble, Brandon Burns, John Jacobs and James Burkes had some big knocks on Monday morning.
There is no rest this week. "There was a lot of good learning this morning, the kids were hitting hard," said Snyder of the workout. "No complaints." The offensive tackles were alternating turns today with the ones and the twos, as Wood, Daniel Baldridge, Ryan Tillman, Brandon Campbell and even Branden Curry rotated in and out of drills. "C.J. had the best scrimmage," said Snyder of Wood, but called the tackle position still up for grabs. "It's still a work in progress, but not as bad as I thought to be honest with you. We'll be fine. The other thing we saw on the film was early we looked crisp and sharp and by the end we looked like mush, a little dead-legged." That was the reason for Saturday night and most of Sunday being off. The coaches will decide the upcoming weekend schedule later this week.