The annual gathering of local media kept the hallway busy and noisy with the sound of interviews all afternoon on Thursday. Prior to the interview sessions, Marshall coach Bob Pruett addressed the media and gave his outlook for the season.
"We have a great amount of adversity in our schedule," said Marshall coach Bob Pruett. "Our league is holding meetings and not inviting us, that's how our season starts. We cannot worry about the things we can't control, but it is a concern. I don't care where the championship game is played, if we are fortunate enough to make it."
Marshall hosts the Troy University Trojans on September 4 in the home opener at Edwards Stadium. Marshall ticket manager Michael Carpenter pegged the season ticket sales at 11,300 as of Thursday. Carpenter also said the sales goal was 12,500.
"We've got to go out there every day, practice, and get the job done," Hill added when asked about summer practices, which began last Monday. "I think I'm 100% right now," Hill added about the leg injury that sidelined him midway through the 2003 season.
Earlier in the day, Marshall held its regular practice on the turf at Edwards Stadium. Defensive backs on the first team were making the lives of the second team receivers and quarterback Graham Gochneaur miserable in Thursday's "team" periods at the end of practice. Roberto Terrell ripped away an interception from Emanuel Spann, the freshman receiver. He also broke up a perfectly good ball by Gochneaur, as did Geremy Rodamer and Chris Royal.
The second team offensive line was having trouble even allowing Gochneaur to throw, as Jamus Martin, Reggie Hayes and Marcus Hairston all put a hand on "Goch" before he could get the ball away, in part due to excellent coverage by backs and linebackers. Great intensity by the defense sets up a real hitting day on Friday, when the Herd can finally put on full pads for the first time and head coach Bob Pruett promises 15 or 20 minutes of "live" hitting to find out who's who, especially among the newcomers.
Marshall assistant and associate coaches also briefed the media on the specific players and areas each coach is responsible for. The following are some of the more notable quotes from media day:
"Right now, we are fairly healthy, no big things. We are eligible, for the most part. We need to position ourselves to make a run at the title." -coach Bob Pruett
"Most impressed with Marcus Hairston, after four days of practice. He is making no mental errors. Jon Goddard should have another big year and Reggie Hayes is doing a good job after a good summer. Among the new players, Bilal El-Amin has a good first step, good attitude and he can really run. His attitude is good and his work ethic is good." -defensive coordinator Bill Wilt
"We are going to be faster. Dionte' Wilson had a good off-season and good summer, he is heavier than ever and we hope it helps him; J.T. Rembert is much lighter, on the other hand. He looks quicker and passed the running test by his best time ever; Kevin Atkins is steady, he shows us leadership." -associate coach Mark Gale
"We have to keep Stan Hill healthy (via the offensive line). You will see Doug Legurski playing as a true freshman, but you may even see him starting as a true freshman. Nate Griffin gave up no sacks last season as a first-year starter. That's why we moved him to the left tackle, to protect Stan's backside." -assistant coach Mark McHale
"It is a wide open race after Josh Davis for starting receiver. Shawn Lauzon is a high energy guy. The other receivers feed off of him. Emanuel Spann, among the new guys, has caught the ball well and ran good routes. He has caught the offense quicker than most freshmen." -receivers coach Dwayne Nunez
"Earl Charles has done a great job. He is a role model for the other backs. Earl is up to 215 pounds, he has really worked hard this summer. Tank Tunstalle had a really good summer and he is up to 235. He may be the big back. Will Albin is the kind of back that defenders hate to tackle. His nickname is "Alstott ," and just like Mike Alstott, he is very tough and smart. He may play in H—Back situations, as he is also up to 235. Ahmad Bradshaw and Gerwin Williams are very talented. They have shown sparks and already made plays in practice, even catching to the offense on faster than some youngsters in the past." -running backs coach Ernie Purnsley