Marshall, Mark Snyder Start 2005 With 1st Workout

The long anticipated first practice of 2005 on the new FieldTurf at Joan C. Edwards Stadium took place under a scorching sun that raised temperatures in Huntington to triple-digits downtown. Still, the Thundering Herd of new head coach Mark Snyder, only heading up his third workout with his team since his hiring late in April this past spring, was one where the MU players "showed a lot of enthusiasm...but the system is still new," said Snyder, "and we have learning to do. It was a long day..."

Mark Snyder included himself in that last part, as some media observers wondered about the coach's choice of workout gear for himself, including black top and shorts. But there was method to the madness of the new Marshall coach. "I wore all black to gauge the heat, so I would know if it was becoming too much for our players," Snyder told Herd Insider's Chuck Landon after practice, "and if we needed to stop for water."

Marshall coach Mark Snyder added in water breaks to counter the searing heat on the new FieldTurf at Edwards Stadium. The team took a break in groups near the new midfield logo on Wednesday.

Snyder did, in fact, stop practice a couple times for additional team-wide water breaks, due to the temps on the FieldTurf but despite the heat no players were seen to fall out of drills due to the heat, a sure sign of the level of conditioning this team has under new strength and conditioning coach Mike Cochran. "We have a lot of returning guys, but we also have a lot of new players (to our system) and it showed today on the field," said Snyder when asked after practice to judge the first day.

Some players, however, really stood out despite the fact that Marshall must practice until Monday without full pads. Newcomers who attracted many comments from the media up in the pressbox included 6-6, 330 pound junior college defensive tackle Chris Terrell, who brought great speed from Butte College despite his large size. Others included last year's Prop 48 players, including wide receivers Jermaine Filer (6-3, 190 Soph.), who is running with the second team already, and super-quick Antonio Leath (5-7, 170, Soph.), who also sat out last year but showed the 4.3 speed in the first workout.

QB Jimmy Skinner called signals during Marshall's first practice of the summer on Wednesday afternoon at Edwards Stadium.

Some returning players who also were looking good on day one included: quarterbacks Jimmy Skinner, Bernie Morris and Derek Devine, who all looked bigger and stronger, throwing the ball with much more zip (Skinner checked in at 201 pounds, over 40 pounds more than his freshman year). Devine also seemed much more comfortable in the offense after a summer of video with offensive coordinator Larry Kueck and player volunteer workouts, which took place four times per week and were run largely by the quarterbacks; offensive lineman Toby Bullock is somewhere around 330 pound and looks to be in the best shape of his career, easily passing the conditioning test before heading to Memphis, Tenn., for C-USA Media Days Monday and Tuesday. Defensive end Bilal El-Amin is huge, looking 10-20 pounds heavier than his listed 240 and still very quick, while Adrian Davis is down to 285 pounds at defensive tackle and has re-shaped his body since spring, when he weighed near 300. Red-shirt freshman Ian Hoskins looks to be somewhat bigger than 210 pounds and may still move to defensive end, although he was running with Matt Couch and Dennis Thorton as first team linebackers during team. Meanwhile, cornerback Jeremy Frazie is pushing Ivan Clark for playing time at nickelback, coming off a great spring.

Receiver Nate Manns caught a pass while stepping over hurdles at the first Marshall football practice on Wednesday afternoon.

Notes: Nathan Howard was out today for classwork, allowing freshman Brian Leggett to get some work at second-team center...The Herd did add freshman receiver E.J. Wynn from Washington, D.C., to the receiver corps...Zane Bruhin was working out with the offensive line today...true freshman lineman Daniel Baldridge stands out at 6-foot, 9-inches, but is closer to 290 pounds than his listed and carries that weight easily...Ian O'Connor looks like he would still like to both punt and kick, as he boomed some punts 55-to-60 yards...the FieldTurf install is not quite done, as the south endzone still needs the letters spelling Marshall sewn in and there is still quite a bit of sand and rubber pellets to add to field, although it is scheduled to be done by Friday.

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