Marshall Spring Football: Practice 13

Marshall was back for the next-to-last 7:00 a.m. workouts on Tuesday morning, the first work since the Herd's successful scrimmage at Oakes Field in South Charleston on Saturday. Whereas about 3,500 caught the evening workout, a crowd of less than 15 or so were on hand for a morning that started out 64 degrees and clear, but temps dropped and slight rain began to fall as the Herd finished the shoulder pads-shorts workout. After a good offensive show Saturday, the defense won today's practice.

Interim coach Larry Kueck asked the team for energy and effort today and the defense gave him that and more. During team, the offense was in third-and-five from its own 20-yard line and were stuffed, converting only three of 12 plays while rotating quarterbacks Jimmy Skinner, Bernard Morris and Derek Devine with the first and second team offense. Kueck even got after the offense vocally when they started 1-6 for the drill and Hiram Moore continued what he started on Saturday's scrimmage by picking up a first down the very next play, on a crisp pass from Skinner.

"The defense got after us a little bit today, but its been back-and-forth all spring and that's not a bad thing," said Kueck following practice. "We wrote on the board that, as coaches, we wanted high energy and good effort today even in just uppers and we certainly got that." So much energy, in fact, that safety Curtis Keyes knocked nickel back Ivan Clark for a loop on a first down catch by fullback Will Albin in goalline. Clark had a headache, but apparently was not seriously injured. On the injury front, Moore was back in a yellow jersey as he took a head shot on a crossing route in the scrimmage. It appears MU will have th Green-White Game without end Byron Tinker, who is expected to rehab his knee injury about three more weeks.

In the goal line situtions, the offense managed just 4-12 on third-and-five. The ball would start at the 20, then to the 18, 16, 14, 12 and 10-yard line before being moved back to the 20-yard line. Linebacker Dennis Thorton broke up one pass, as did linebacker Maurice Kitchens, who dropped what looked like a sure interception for touchdown and defensive end Colin Kelly recorded a sack. The offense did covert when Morris hit Marcus Fitzgerald for a crossing pattern, while Skinner found Chubb Small for a 10-yard gain. Albin caught about a six-yard gain over the middle and tight end Matt Parkhurst ended the scrimmage with a nice catch on a ball thrown behind him in traffic for a final first for the offense.

In the secondary, it appears that North Carolina transfer Chris Hawkins has moved ahead of Ivan Clark at the corner opposite returning starter Willie Smith. Hawkins, who showed amazing speed in running down Ahmad Bradshaw Saturday night on Bradshaw's 98-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, was also catching punts, along with Chris Royal, Bradshaw and Small. Jeremy Frazie, who had a 28-yard return of an interception Saturday night, was getting reps at the number one nickel back for the Herd on Tuesday. "Jeremy is a kid who walked on a couple of years ago," Kueck said, "but the coaches have always talked about how hard he practices and works when he's been on the scout team. He has got a chance to prove himself this spring and has come up with some big plays.

"Hawk is a kid we knew was a good football player, but it takes awhile to get your legs back when you sit out a year," said Kueck, who had a similar circumstance while attending Stephen F. Austin in the 1970s and playing football. "We thought once he got some work in our defense...because last year he played scout team while he sat out, as a transfer...once he got his legs back, we knew he could be a player for us." Marshall will workout in full pads on Wednesday, if the rain holds off (or possibly move to Thursday, although Kueck will try to work tommorrow) perhaps even going full contact for a portion of team in the practice. The MU Green-White Game is scheduled for Saturday at 4:00 p.m. at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. It will cost $5 to park on the West Lot for the game and admission is $5, with proceeds going to the MU Quarterback Club. The game will be broadcast in the Tri-State area on WRVC 930-AM, one of the Herd's flagship stations.

NOTES: Rumors regarding a hiring at Marshall were fueled this morning by a local radio report, but when contacted at Ohio State Tuesday Mark Snyder was in a position meeting with his Buckeye linebackers and had not been contacted regarding the MU job one way or the other. Snyder, a former MU All-American and OSU's defensive coordinator since last year, and Kueck, the QB coach for the last three seasons and associate offensive coordinator last season, appear to be the final candidates and both are in the midst of spring practice at their respective schools. Interim MU President Michael Farrell said Saturday night he, MU Director of Athletics Bob Marcum and the screening committee were to meet yesterday and today, with a possible press conference coming Wednesday or Thursday of this week. The timing is important to both MU and OSU, as the NCAA allows junior recruiting of high school players who will be seniors to start next week.

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