Marshall Two-A-Days Continue In "Triple-H" August

Marshall took a well-deserved Sunday off, then returned to what has thus far been been a month more like WWE wrestler and actor Triple H than not; A hot, hazy and humid August that tests the players as much as what Coach Mark Snyder and his staff are throwing at the 2005 Thundering Herd. Marshall went with another two-a-day set on Monday, August 15, and following a scrimmage on Saturday that most observers thought was won by the defense, the offense responded with a great two minute drill.

Speaking of responding, quarterback Bernie Morris returned to practice after sitting out much of last week with a sore shoulder and looked crisp passing the ball in team, pass skel and in the two minute drill. He hooked up with freshman Robert Surratt on two consecutive passes, one for 33 yards and the next for eight, moving the Herd from the 40-yard line to the 19. A quick pass, coming on a blitz read, to fullback Will Albin netted 11 more yards and Albin then gained three to set up a 23-yard field goal by Ian O'Connor. Five plays, 35 yards for the second team, which got outstanding blocking from the offensive line.

WR Robert Surratt had two big catches in the two minute drill (file photo by Greg Perry, HI).

Not to say Jimmy Skinner and the first offense were not just as sharp in the two minute against the first team defense as Morris and the second team was against the twos on defense. Skinner hooked up with tight end Jeff Mullins for a 9-yard gain over corner Chris Hawkins, who left momentarily after appearing to jam his fingers on the tackle. Skinner picked up a first down and nine more yards with a quick hitter to slot receiver Marcus Fitzgerald, but saw his next attempt to Fitzgerald broken up by linebacker Dennis Thorton, who had a big hit. After Chubb Small picked up two yards, Skinner picked up three yards to tight end Matt Parkhurst. Hiram Moore got behind Hawkins on the next play for a 35-yard touchdown strike from Skinner for a six play, 65-yard scoring drive.

"We are going to work on our blitz package and our two minute drill," said Mark Snyder after practice, "both coming out and going in." The ball is marked back at the offenses five, as well as at the 20-yard line, as MU works on plays from deep in its own territory as well as plays in the red-zone. "We are putting an emphasis on special situations."

The defense came up with some nice plays earlier in practice, as safety Geremy Rodamer, playing with the first play in place of Curtis Keyes, had two interceptions for touchdowns off Skinner, going over 50 yards for both scores, and pressured Skinner as well on a safety blitz. "Curtis is trying to do to much," said Snyder of the safety who was held out. "We are going to temper him a bit." Sacks were recorded in the blitz drill by end Gavin Herscher, tackle Chris Terrell, end Demarcus Thomas (who had four in Saturday's scrimmage) and by freshman safety C.J. Spillman, who also recorded a quarterback pressure as did fellow freshman defensive back J.J. Johnson.

NOTES:Snyder said both Tuesday afternoon's single practice and both practice's on Wednesday, including a special teams scrimmage that afternoon, will be open to the public...The "Head" coaches for the scrimmage on Wednesday will be tight ends coach Shane Miles and receivers coach Todd Goebbel for the green. All coaches, players, managers and trainers were drafted by the two head coaches to fill out their teams and the losing team on Wednesday will have three sets of stadium steps to run...Marshall will announce this year's captains on Tuesday. They will join coach Snyder at "Paint The Capital City Green" Wednesday evening at the Embassy Suites in Charleston, with the program starting at 7:15 p.m. Call MU Big Green or Alumni for tickets...former Herd captain and linebacker, now an assistant at Morgan State, William King was at practice. His father is in a Charleston hospital, following a heart attack, and King came in Saturday evening...Herd only had three players sitting out in blue jerseys on Monday, a very low number of injuries following a scrimmage. "I have never come out of a jersey scrimmage as healthy and we're getting healthier," said Snyder...MU sold another 50 tickets on Saturday and are over 11,400 season tickets, slightly ahead of last year.

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