Some hitting still took place with only eight days before the Saturday, August 30, opener with Hofstra at 4:30 p.m. at Marshall University Stadium. In a "live" goalline drill, second team quarterback Jimmy Skinner had six situations of third-and-eight, third-and-six and third-and-four to score a touchdown. He just missed a touchdown to tight end Jason Rader on the first third-and-eight. After missing his other tight end, Skinner found Jeff Mullins on third-and-four for a touchdown.
On the next third-and-eight, Skinner was picked off by cornerback Roberto Terrell, who would have scored a 99-yard touchdown but was stopped by the coaches. The third-and-six saw Rader catch a five yard pass, then Skinner and third tight end Joe Deifel hooked up for a touchdown on third-and-four. The offensive line dominated all six plays, as Skinner had all day to throw verses the first team defense.
Skinner continued to get snaps with the first team offense, as Graham Gochneaur continues to battle the flu. Other freshmen staying with the ones included wide receiver Hiram Moore and lineman John Inman. Other injured players are kicker Ben Lewis, with his abscess healing as expected; Ivan Clark, Jimmy Tyson, Jamall Saunders, Renaldo Williams and Dennis Thorton are still on the side working out. Coach Pruett said they will proabably use Lewis for extra-point and short field goals, Nick Kelly for long field goals and Ian O'Connor for kickoffs. With Klint Rose punting, it means that four players are being used to replace former Marshall kicker and punter (and current British Columbia Lion) Curtis Head.
Pruett stopped practice early, about 10:15. He called the team up and said, "Good effort. Now get your rest and legs back. We will go only 1:15 to one and one-half hour this afternoon."
Fashion Note: Marcus Hairston and Jason Rader appeared with helmets with stripes and "M" decals for the morning practice, due to their participation in Thursday night's "Marshall Women's Football Clinic," which drew over 300 for the 14th annual affair. Rader and Hairston displayed each item of equipment, and removed most of it, to show the cost of outfitting a single player (about $1,600 each, including helmet, all pads, shorts, shirts, sweats and uniforms for practice and games). Also, former Herd captain and All-SC/MAC right guard Brian Reed (1994-97) came to practice today to trade barbs with his former head coach. Reed helped Pruett to win the National Championship in 1996, then captained the Herd to MU's first MAC title in 1997. The Carolina Panthers also had a scout in today.
Practice will go at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon. This evening is your chance to join the Marshall staff on the Nitro Dodge/Kindred Communications "Coaches Caravan." The trip starts at 6:00 p.m. at Kelly's Tavern, 5974 Route 60 West. Then at 7;00 p.m., the caravan moves to Tascali's Restaurant, just east of Kelly's on Route 60. The group will then move to Huntington's Historic West End. The first stop is at 8:00 p.m. at Lucky Draw, just across Adams Avenue from Classic Liquors and on the left side of the avenue when you exit Adams Avenue at I-64's 17th Street exit. The party ends at Madison Avenue and I-64 from 9:00-10:00 p.m. at R.T. Champs Sports Bar. Hope to see you there.
Saturday's practice will be a "mock" game, with coaches using headset and trying out game situations like special teams.