Mark Snyder began day one on the field by bringing in a former Marshall great, Troy Brown, to talk to his team. The three-time Super Bowl champion wide receiver with the New England Patriots, who helped MU to the I-AA National Championship in 1992, spoke to the Herd about teamwork and working hard every day, both on the field and in the classroom.
"If I had to pick any former Herd player to come out for my first day, it would be Troy Brown. The New England Patriots are the model of successful football right now, and that's because of the kind of players they bring in," said Snyder. "You talk to Tedy Bruschi (New England's All-Pro linebacker), other New England players, and they'll tell you Troy Brown is a locker room leader, a leader on and off the field for the Pats." Snyder also had a visit by former secondary starter from 1987, MU Hall of Famer Reggie Giles. "We invite all former Marshall players to come back, practice will always be open to them," said coach Snyder.
Snyder was excited to be on the Marshall field this morning, "back home" as he reminds everyone repeatedly, as if still trying to convince himself he is the MU head coach. "It was so good to be home, talking Marshall football," said Snyder. "The kids worked really hard today, they had a ton of enthusiasm. Very proud of them." Snyder is on a crash course to not only learn Marshall's system, but the names of players and coaches. "Names, numbers the whole deal. I have to get used to the nomenclature. The kids know it. They know it and it's my job to learn it. We had a couple of minor changes I wanted them to get used to before the fall gets here. It was a little slow at first but picked up as we went."
New Marshall coach Mark Snyder had a pat on the head for defensive back Chris Royal during Friday morning's practice.
It has obviously been hectic for Snyder, who will remain in Huntington to work but his wife will return to Columbus and allow their daughters to finish this semester of school. "I was on the phone a lot last night, so I didn't get much sleep, but I was anxious to get on the field today. Tomorrow, I will let the coaches run (the Green-White game). I'll meet and greet the fans, but I might have a little hand in it. We'll go up and have a staff meeting (after practice), try to get myself indoctrinated to being a head coach. I've got a lot of work to do. It was an high-energy practice and I was pleased with it."
Snyder commented on some of the players he saw as he moved all over the James F. Edwards turf this morning, starting with his quarterbacks. "I thought they threw the ball real well today. I went from drill to drill, didn't spend much time with them, but they all seem to have good arms." Running back Ahmad Bradshaw also caught Snyder's eye. "Bradshaw, he's an exciting player." Snyder also was impressed with his starting safeties, Curtis Keyes and Chris Royal. "They are as good as the guys we had at Ohio State. They move around well, know what they are doing. We are a little young up front (on the defensive line) and at the linebacker postition, but I'll tell you what...I was impressed with that secondary. They are all better than I was," said the former All-Southern Conference safety for the Herd in 1987. Snyder was an honorable mention All-American and still holds the MU and SC single-season record for interceptions with 10 for the I-AA National Finalist Marshall team in his only season in MU's secondary.
What does Snyder want to see in the spring game on Saturday? "Lot of good effort, have a lot of fun and let's have some class. The staff will control the scrimmage, but I might jump in at the end and have a little anything goes...but don't tell them that," Snyder added with a laugh.
NOTES: Snyder will appear on the spring game broadcast , which will be carried on Marshall flagship station WRVC 930-AM, at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday from Joan C. Edwards Stadium, as well as meet and greet fans in the stands...The West Lot and Annex Lot at the stadium will open for tailgating at noon and parking will cost $5 per vehicle...The stadium ticket office will open at 2:00 p.m. and tickets will also be sold at Gate B of the stadium...Stadium gates open at 2:30 p.m.... Admission is $5 per person and Marshall students are admitted free with a current MU ID card...All proceeds from parking and ticket sales goes to the MU Quarterback Club, which helps fund the football program at Marshall.