"I thought we'd be a little crisper in practice today with the cooler weather," said first year head coach Mark Snyder following Tuesday afternoon's workout. "We were a little lethargic today. We will work in shells on Wednesday morning, as they looked a little sluggish." Snyder also wants his team fresh for the Wednesday afternoon Special Teams Scrimmage, which like today's practice and Wednesday mornings workout is open to the Herd public and fans. "We won't back off, though. We'll go as hard as we can for the next five days (of camp)," said Snyder, as the Herd will wrap up August camp Saturday and begin classes on Monday, August 22.
Receiver Wilbur Hargrove (left) and defensive back Chris Royal were both named captains on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Snyder introduced the football captains for the 2005 Herd. Marshall has had captains for the team since Roy Grass was captain of the 1903 Herd. There were single captains through 1928, when Ralph Young and Frank Porter were given the honor. The 87th set of Team Captains for Marshall in 2005, as voted by their teammates, were all seniors; tight end Jeff Mullins and wide receiver Wilbur Hargrove from the offense and defensive backs Chris Royal and Willie Smith from the defensive side. It is the first time since 1991 that the Herd has had only four captains.
"It's a really big honor, something I've dreamed of since I came to Marshall as a freshman," said Royal of being picked. "It's even sweeter to be named by your teammates. It is a real test of all of our leadership abilities." Mullins echoed Royal's statements. "It's a real honor, for all four of us, but we have to realize there are 13 seniors and all of us have to be captains," said Mullins. "You do the right things, run back to the huddle, straighten up the huddle or making sure everyone is on track...on the field, and socially too. Out in the public, people respect you (as a captain) and you can take charge there as well. If you are a freshman, sophomore or junior, you have to step up and be a leader on the team. We need everyone to be leaders on this team."
Tight end Jeff Mullins is one of the team's captains.
Hargrove talked about the receivers, which includes some talented, but inexperienced, players and what he can do as captain to lead that group. "We don't look at them as a group of young guys, we all come at you as a corps," Hargrove said. "We all try to learn from each other, try to help each other, learn from each other. We try to stay one corps." Hargrove also does not worry about some of the pre-season picks that have rated the Herd receivers at or near the bottom of Conference USA. "We really don't look at that. People don't really know what we have in our arsenal, we're going to surprise lots of people. As a senior, I want our team to go out on top, to prove everybody wrong and show the Marshall Thundering Herd still has that winning tradition."
"It's a great honor to be picked by your teammates to be a captain, to be a leader," said Smith, a third-year starter at corner for the Herd. "It's a big responsibility. You've got to be captain on the field, but also when you cross these white lines. You've got to set an example in the classroom, locker room or meeting room," said Smith. "As captains, we are eliminating the negatives (among teammates). We want to go out on the field and lead by example, on and off the field."
Willie Smith was named one of four captains for Marshall football in 2005.
It was another tough day for the offense, except in the red-sone drills. The offense got touchdowns from Will Albin and Chubb Small with the ball set at the seven yard line, but then Derek Devine threw an interception to Demarcus Thomas on the third series. The two minute drill was even worse offensively, as Bernie Morris fumbled a handoff on the second play, which was recovered by Dennis Thorton. The next series ended on third down, when Devine was intercepted by Ian Hoskins. The good news was that Ian O'Connor connected on both field goals after the turnovers, one from 40 and one from 34 yards. "I hope it was great defensive effort," said Snyder, "not mental errors by the defense. With less than two minutes and a two-point lead in our own end of the field, we cannot have two turnovers.
NOTES:Morris hurt his leg during the red-zone drill and was helped from the field. After the trainers checked his right knee, he returned for the two minute drill...Matt Morris sat out of today's practice with a groin pull...Jimmy Skinner did not throw again today, resting a sore shoulder...ESPN was to drop by the stadium to shoot some practice for "50 States In 50 Days" West Virginia segment, which airs Thursday live from Snowshoe. Coming from the midwest, however, the camera crew was delayed getting into Cincinnati. They may shoot Wednesday in Huntington and Charleston for the SportsCenter piece...Paint the Capital City Green is Wednesday evening at the Charleston Embassy Suites, with dinner starting at 6 p.m. and the program at 7:15. Tickets are available at the Big Green or Alumni for $25. Herd Insider Pocket Guides will be available for fans...Meet The Coaches, sponsored by Kindred Communications and Miller Lite, will be held in Huntington Friday, at the Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe' at 7 p.m. and at The Union at 8 p.m. There is no charge for Meet The Coaches so come out and chat with Mark Snyder and his assistant coaches...The Marshall Women's Clinic is Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Big Green Room at the stadium. Cost is $10. Call Mark Gale for information at 696-2408.