Herd Finishes Final Morning Practice On Friday

Marshall Football finished "two-a-day" practices Friday with the final morning practice of 2005. It was another hot-and-cold day for the offense, which looked good in the two-minute drill, good at times in team and pass skel. Meanwhile, defensive players were hot, and in the case of freshman E.J. Rascoe, hotter yet in drills as he mixed it up with fellow freshman Brian Leggett and stormed off the field for 15 minutes or so. Leadership, however, headed off the situation quickly among teammates.

Junior tackle Adrian Davis went after Rascoe, finally cooling him down enough to return to team, with the help of strength coach Mike Cochran. It was more of the Snyder belief in "nothing is completely bad" school of thought...while not liking the leaving the field in anger by the youngster Rascoe, Snyder was encouraged by the leadership shown by Davis. "It is great to see our guys self-policing themselves," said Snyder. "Anytime you get that in organizations, not just on football teams, you've got something good happening. We focus, in the first and last meetings each day, on leadership and we're getting that from different people on different days."

Snyder is also very happy with how the team has not strayed in its attention during the drudgery of August camp. "I think we have done a good job of that," said Snyder. "The assistants are doing a good job of not doing the "same ol', same ol' in invididual and special teams periods. They keep challenging, giving the players a little something different." Snyder is also pleased with the effort in the morning of the final double dip. "We're getting closer. It's been good for everyone who is in to get reps and guys like Ahmad (Bradshaw), who is out, to get mental reps." Bernie Morris was doing the same during pass skel, still not thowing on his sore elbow but involved in the mental part of the game, while Bradshaw is not going in live tackling drills, which have been reduced somewhat.

"We're still learning how to practice, like everyone except the NFL," said Snyder of coaching the players to hit but not tackle to the ground to avoid injuries, like he has seen in the camps held by the National Football League teams. "Man, those guys get a lot done with very little practice tackling or injuries." Marshall does have a few players who are sitting out, including guard Ryan Baynes, who got "dinged" in the head, and receiver Marcus Fitzgerald, who will get an answer on the knee he injured earlier this week. Matt Couch sat out morning with a blue jersey, while Robert Surratt missed another day waiting on paperwork to clear at the NCAA Clearinghouse. Matt Morris was back at work in a yellow (limited contact) jersey at wide receiver.

In pass skel, QB Derek Devine hit Uranius Johnson for his second long touchdown in two days, going for 35 yards as Johnson again was way behind the secondary. Jimmy Skinner and tight end Brian Shope hooked up for a short score from the four, while Devine made a perfect low throw to Antonio Leath for a two-yard touchdown with double coverage on the receiver. Later, Skinner hit M. Morris for another short score while Devine and Mullins did the same trick. D-squared and the senior tight end, Mullins, also had a nice 15 yard completion in team; B. Morris had some 15 and 20 yard runs on keepers; Skinner and Bradshaw had a pretty 30 yard pitch and run; and Devine and Johnson were again locked in for 15 yards. For the defense, Demarcus Thomas continued to press to start at defensive end with a sack, two tackles-for-loss and two other tackles in team. Gavin Herscher also knocked down a Skinner pass at the line; Chris Royal, Chris Hawkins and Dennis Thorton recorded passes-broken-up in drills; and Rascoe returned to record a fumble caused, recovered by fellow freshman defensive lineman Albert McClellan.

In the two minute drill, Chubb Small continued what he started Thursday when he scored twice by scoring on an end sweep for a four yard touchdown, following a crushing block from fullback Will Albin. Paco Jones also had a four yard score on a run around left end in which he was untouched to the end zone, although he was stopped cold on the final play of the day by Ian Hoskins and freshman John Saunders.

Marshall will practice in shells on Friday afternoon, working on specific situations in the team periods. While Friday's two practices were closed to the public, Herd fans have two chances to see Marshall's head man and assistant coaches starting tonight at 7:00 p.m. "Meet The Coaches" will be at the Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe' on Third Avenue and Ninth Street in downtown Huntington from 7-8 p.m. Friday evening, then at The Union, Fourth Avenue and 12th Street in downtown Huntington, from 8-9 p.m. WRVC 930 AM will broadcast live from the Hall of Fame Cafe' from 6-8 p.m., then from The Union until 9:00 p.m. Saturday will be a game rehersal for the team, starting with the new walk to the stadium from the Henderson Center at 10:00 a.m. Marshall will kickoff at about 12:30 p.m. after normal pre-game taping and warm-ups and play four eight minute quarters. Mark Snyder wants it to be like a game, down to using headsets for coaches and other game day items, and encourages all Herd fans to come tailgate and make lots of noise inside the Joan C. Edwards Stadium at 12:30 p.m. and throughout the game.

NOTES: The Marshall family lost one of its oldest letter winners on Wednesday when the grandfather of linebacker Scott Wilks passed away. Herndon Wilks was 92 years old when he died August 17, having played for both Tom Dandelet in 1933-34 and Cam Henderson's first team in 1935, and was the first of three generations of Wilks to play for the Herd, including grandson Scott (who has lettered three consecutive years), a senior for the 2005 Herd, and Herndon's son Phil (Scott's father) who lettered for Perry Moss at MU in 1968. A memorial service will be held Saturday, August 20, at Schneider-Griffin Funeral Home in Chesapeake, Ohio, and the family asked that in lieu of flowers that contributions be sento the the M-Club's Big Green Endowed Scholarship Fund. Wilks coached/taught at both Chesapeake and Buffalo (WV) High Schools after graduation, coaching football, basketball and baseball. He worked at the FBI before joining the Navy for World War II, becoming a Lieutenant and communications officers on LST 689 and meeting his wife of 62 years, Eulah Jo Copper, while in the service. He earned a Masters from Marshall after the war and became a successful coach/teacher at Pomeroy (Ohio) HS and finished his career in education back at Chesapeake as principal. He was the first president of the Chesapeake Little League, the first Fire Chief of the Volunteer Fire Department and a lifelong member of the Chesapeake United Methodist Church.

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