MU FB Day 5: All Not So Well For 1st Day Of Pads

It happens to every team. All coaches dread the day when, for what ever reason, the squad is flat. The practice does not accomplish what was planned. Not many of the Marshall coaches, however, were expecting that day to be the first day of full pads and scrimmage. Bob Pruett told the offensive line they did not hit anybody; the rest did not throw or catch. He did not let the defense off the hook, saying they only won due to poor offense. "If you don't go hard, you won't play," warned Pruett.

Not to say there were not players who made some nice plays. Outside linebacker Dennis Thornton made numerous nice plays on defense. Graham Gochneaur hooked up with Nate Manns on consecutive touchdown strikes of 35 yards against the second team defense in 7-on-7 passing drills. Bernard Morris, playing wide out as well as quarterback, made a fingertip catch for a 35-yard touchdown from Stan Hill and had bulled over freshman defensive back Brandon Sticca the play before. Morris was very effective running the draw from QB.

The down part was just not the lack of hitting but the injury bug reared it head, taking down linebackers J.T. Rembert and Travis Noel on consecutive plays. Their injuries did not appear to be serious, but safety Curtis Keyes was knocked cold by the foot of freshman punter Marty Biagi during punt rush, catching the foot in the face. He was down for a couple of minutes and very dazed, missing the rest of practice as is common with any head injury.

In the 35-play scrimmage, Stan Hill started off the ones-versus-ones segment by hitting Josh Davis on an over-the-shoulder, 25-yard gain behind Willie Smith. Smith made up for the rare miscue by tackling Emanuel Spann three yards behind the line of scrimmage on a receiver screen. Hiram Moore also made a nice catch versus the one-defense by plucking a low ball from Hill for a seven-yard gain. Matt Couch, filling in for Rembert and Noel, had a sack, as did Jon Goddard. Chris Chisholm, Chris Royal and Jamall Sanders broke up passes. Roger Garrett, who also tipped a pass, and Reggie Hayes recorded tackles-for-loss from their defensive tackle positions. Tight end Jeff Mullins had a juggling, 15-yard reception from Hill, whose most consistant receiver was Davis, as expected. Spann also had a nice catch for 12 yards but was three yards short of a first down, then was crushed on a screen play for a ten-yard loss by Thornton, who also recorded QB pressures, recovered a fumble and broke up a pass. Coach Pruett was also disturbed by all the quarterbacks disregard of the 25-second clocks in the scrimmage.

"We had some minor things we have to work on," said Hill, after the scrimmage of the offense. "They turned on the loud music for the first time and we had trouble communicating, especially with the new guys. We've got to get in the film room this afternoon and come out and execute Saturday." Those new players, particularly Spann, Ahmad Bradshaw and Gerwin Williams, continue to impress fans and the quarterback of the Herd, who said his knee feels fine, no problem from last years surgery.

"The freshmen look great so far," said Hill. "They have a lot of potential. They have to get ready to play in the offense and it always takes the offense awhile to get ready for the season. We will take it up a notch tomorrow." The Herd will have the first two-a-day practice on Saturday, going at 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Quote of the day: "That (practice) looked like the fourth quarter of a NFL exhibition game," Larry Kueck, Marshall's QB coach.

Co-Quote of the day: "It's a good thing we didn't play Huntington High today. They would have whipped us," Mark Gale, LB coach, to Richard Williams, the coach of the Huntington High Highlanders.


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