He is originally a South Charleston native, before moving to Huntington and graduating from Huntington High, and Hiram Moore had a big night back home as he led all receivers with five catches for 101 yards. The junior had a breakout workout, along with fellow West Virginia natives Will Albin (9-31, one TD) and Tank Tunstalle (7-28, one TD). Throw in Ahmad Bradshaw, just across the border in Bluefield, Va., and "Ahmad Squad" electrified the crowd on the first play from scrimmage with a 98-yard carry. Bradshaw rushed from the one-yard line to the other one, tackled from behind by UNC transfer corner Chris Hawkins.
"Just been working hard all spring," said Moore, who is recovering from injuries suffered in a car wreck just prior to Marshall's start of spring ball. "Going to church, putting God first and playing every day like it might be my last. I've been through some things," Moore added. He was out the first week of practice and in a yellow jersey for the second week, so this is really his first full week of work.
"I was hurt pretty bad, as were some of my friends," Moore continued of his struggles. "I just had to work hard when I got back out there to help the team out." Moore is one of the many players this spring to buy into the "all-out effort" at practice preached by interim coach Larry Kueck and the MU staff, which has led to one of the most energetic spring practices in some years.
"Just go out there and play as hard as you can," Moore said. "That's what coach Kueck has been preaching from day one, as long as you're out there."
Hiram Moore looked downfield for running room after catching a pass during The Herd's South Charleston practice.
It was a practice typical of this spring, with the offense looking good at times and then being dominated by the defense. Marshall passed the ball 39 times, completing 19 for 312 yards and two touchdown. However, the defense came up with two interception and 10 sacks in the practice. Backup corner Jeremy Frazie picked off Jimmy Skinner and returned the ball 29 yards. Terick Thomas, another reserve corner battling for playing time, picked off juco QB Derek Devine and returned the ball for a 46-yard score on the 24th play of the evening. Defensively, Marshall also got big plays from tackles Floyd Wright (8 tackles, 1 tackle-for-loss), Adrian Davis (8 tackles and a QB sack) and Roger Garrett (4 tackles, a safety and two T-F-L). Garrett tackled Albin in the end zone on the eight play from inside the five-yard line where the Herd started the scrimmage.
Marshall coach Larry Kueck liked what he saw during the South Charleston practice.
"(Tonight) was the way it's been all spring, someone does something good and then someone does something bad," said junior linebacker Matt Couch, who had six tackles. "Hopefully, we put it together when the season starts and we are clicking on all cylinders." On the other side of the ball, the offensive rushing game was clicking behind Bradshaw, who finished with eight rushes for 142 yards and a 12-yard touchdown in goalline. Bradshaw added three receptions for 71 yards, totaling 11 plays and 213 yards in total offense. "During high school I played a little receiver and a little running back...well, a whole bunch of running back," said Bradshaw. "The coaches told me they would get me into the open field some (with the swing passes and screens)." On the evening, the offense rushed 40 times for 254 yards, an average of 6.4 yards per carry. There were the 10 sacks, however, which would have cost the Herd at least 70 yards of rushing in a game.
Ahmad Bradshaw scored on this short run late in Marshall's practice at South Charleston's Oakes Field.
Marshall's 106 plays included 12 special teams plays, including punting and field goals. The Herd kickers were a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals, with Ian O'Connor hitting from 28 and 19. Freshmen kickers Marty Biagi (good from 28) and Danny Urrego (good from 20) were also perfect. The punting was uneven at best, however. O'Connor shanked his first kick for just 22 yards and finished with three kicks for a 30.0 yard per punt average. Biagi hit the long punt of the night with a 53 yard effort and had four for a 41.8 average. Urrego punted once for a 38 yard kick. Chris Royal returned two punts for 15 yards, but had to cover one muff. Chubb Small also received punts and caught one pass for a 16 yard gain from Devine.
Quarterback Bernard Morris was brought down on this play during MU's South Charleston scrimmage, despite a "no touch" rule on the QBs.
Quarterbacks Bernard Morris and Skinner split time with the first and second offense, while Devine worked with the second and third units. Morris hit better than 50 percent on the night, 9-of-15 for 122 and one TD, and was the only QB not to have an interception. His touchdown went to tight end Brian Shope (caught 2-for-18) from 12 yards away. Skinner was 7-of-14 for 155 yards and one score, a 12 yard toss to Shawn Lauzon. Skinner and Lauzon also hooked up on the long completion of the night, striking for a 55 yard gain. Devine, still learning the Herd offense, struggled again with a 3-for-10 night for 35 yards and the interception for touchdown by T. Thomas. The Herd's receivers did drop five passes on the night and had three other passes broken up.
QB Jimmy Skinner looked downfield for a receiver (foreground) in the late afternoon sunlight at Oakes Field.
"On both sides of the ball, I thought they did a good job," said Kueck. "It's 20-30 degrees warmer than anything we've worked out in and that's hard on the big guys. We've got some injuries there, some doubling up and going with both units. We got about 95 plays in, it's a good scrimmage for us." Kueck was dissapointed with the interceptions early in the scrimmage, as the QB coach, but happy with the defensive turnovers as head coach. "After that, we settled down. We scored in the red zone, but that is the way it goes in a (situation) scrimmage like this...not so many scores from far out but more plays inside the 20 leads to more scores. We feel good about all three QBs, as Jimmy and Bernard are more tuned in. Derek didn't get down about the early interception. He's about where we expected him to be."
About 3,500 Marshall fans filled South Charleston's Oakes Field for The Herd's annual practice at the facility.
1ST DOWNS: 22; PENALTIES: 3/45
RUSHING:Bradshaw 8/142 TD; Williams 10/10 TD; Albin 9/31 TD; Tunstalle 7/28 TD; Devine 1/2; Skinner 1/3 TD; Morris 4/38; Total 40/254 (6.4) 5 TD.
PASSING:Skinner 14-7-1 155 TD; Morris 15-9-0 122 TD; Devine 10-3-1 35; Total 39-19-2 312 2 TD.
RECEIVING:Moore 5-101; Lauzon 3-78 TD; Bradshaw 3-71; Shope 2-18; Small 1-16; Matt Morris 1-14; Matt Parkhurst 1-7; Mike Nolan 1-6; Tunstalle 1-6; Williams 1-(-2); Wilbur Hargrove 1-(-3); Total 19-312 2 TD.
PUNTING:O'Connor 3/90 30.0; Biagi 4/167 41.8; Urrego 1/38; Total 8/295 36.9.
FIELD GOALS:O'Connor 2-2 (28, 19); Biagi 1-1 (28); Urrego 1-1 (20).
RETURNS:Royal (Punt Returns) 3/15; Frazie (Interception Return) 1/28; T. Thomas (IR) 1/46-TD.
DEFENSE:Wright 8 TKL, T-F-L (-3); Davis 8 TKL, QBS; Royal 7 TKL; Couch 6 TKL; Thorton 6 TKL, 2 T-F-L (-1/-2), PBU; Demarcus Thomas 5 TKL, QBP, 2 QBS, T-F-L (-3);Maurice Kitchens 5 TKL, FR; Frazie 4 TKL, INT; Geremy Rodamer 4 TKL; Garrett 4 TKL, 2 T-F-L (-3/-3), Safety; Hawkins 3 TKL; Scott Wilks 3 TKL, QBS; Ian Hoskins 3 TKL, QBS; Jason Kaminski 2 TKL, QBP; Jon Moravec 2 TKL; Ivan Clark 2 TKL, 2 PBU, FR, FF; Curtis Keyes 2 TKL; Willie Smith TKL, PBU; T. Thomas TKL, QBS, INT; Bilal El-Amin TKL, QBP; Gavin Herscher TKL, QBP; Adam Lee TKL; Kyle Echols TKL; Shavar Greer QBP; Team QBS. (Key: TKL-tackles; T-F-L-tackles-for-loss; QBS-quarterback sacks; QBP-quarterback pressures; PBU-passes broken up; INT-interceptions; FF-forced fumbles; FR-fumbles recovered)