Stan Hill continued his return from injury and was very sharp on Sunday, connecting on numerous plays with Bernard Morris, the Herd's backup quarterback who is running with the first team receivers while Brad Bates and Tremel Guillory are in "gold" (no contact) jerseys. Another Herd backup QB is getting into the act as well, as Fresno State transfer Tim Bessolo took snaps at tight end and caught a pretty 35-yard touchdowns in a "7-vs-7" drill, outracing the defense to the end zone.
"Stan is doing a good job of leading the team," said head coach Bob Pruett. "He has a real good handle on the offense." Pruett said the only concern is not to make his arm sore from overthrowing, as Hill has not thrown full-time since leaving the field last year at Western Michigan. "I'm really pleased with our team, up to now," Pruett continued, "and they seem to have come back in great condition.
Mike Jenkins is the coach responsible for the Herd's strength and conditioning and normally he has fewer on-field responsibilities (than during summer conditioning) after leading before practice stretching and then supervising post-practice running and conditioning drills. Today, however, 18 players for the 2004 Marshall football team were either in "blue" (no drills) or "gold" jerseys, making some fans wonder if coach Pruett had finally convinced the other D-IA school in West Virginia to come to Huntington.
"Fortunately, none of these injuries appear to be severe," said Jenkins. "A broken finger, sore shoulders and turned ankles, all of these happen in camp. There seem to be no lingering injuries (injuries that would sideline a player for the year) and is a good sign." The Herd has, besides Bates and Guillory, defensive players Jimmy Tyson and Roger Garrett and offensive lineman Toby Bullock in "gold". One of the 13 in "blue" is tight end Brian Shope, who is scheduled to return to practice Monday. Safety Curtis Keyes, cornerback Renaldo Williams and linebacker Travis Noel had "concussion-type" injuries and recurrent headaches. They will be slowly brought back by the Herd's top-notch Sports Medicine Staff, headed by Dr. Jose Ricard and head trainer Jeff Carico. Other players with nicks-and-bruises who will return soon to at least "gold" status are defensive linemen Colin Kelly and Adrian Davis, cornerback Jamall Sanders, linebackers J.T. Rembert and Maurice Kitchens, running backs Donte' Newsome and Gerwin Williams and offensive lineman David Ziegler.
Like Bessolo and Morris, some defenders getting more time on the field with injuries are stepping up. Linebacker Matt Couch, who left the team shortly in July before returning, has been outstanding as a starter while Rembert and Noel are out. Sunday, safety Chris Chisholm lit up freshman running back Ahmad Bradshaw on a punt return during team (although it should be noted, Bradshaw held onto the ball, something a number of Herd fans watching from the fence commented on) and then blocked a punt off the foot of sophomore Ian O'Connor. Chris Royal had an interception off a tip by linebacker Kevin Atkins and later broke up a pass and Roberto Terrell made some very good plays including putting a blanket on freshman Shawn Lauzon, who just returned to full speed at receiver. The Herd will have another receiver at full-speed as soon as Monday afternoon, when junior college transfer Mandell Smith finishes his fourth practice without full gear on Monday morning. The Herd is scheduled to go at 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Monday, most likely on the turf in the morning and on the grass fields for the afternoon. Practices are open to the public.