Herd Returns To Work-Preparing For Game One

Marshall football got back to work on Tuesday, the first practice since Saturday's scrimmage and the first time the team had practiced since breaking camp and starting classes on Monday. Head coach Mark Snyder was excited about getting back to work and about getting back some players the Herd will be counting on, including middle linebacker Matt Couch, defensive end Byron Tinker and defensive end Jason Kaminski. Snyder was talking "focus" to his team on Tuesday's workout.

"This was the first practice since school started," Snyder said following practice, "and we have got to get our focus back on football daily. It is another step in the learning process. It's like going from ones (the first team) versus the scout team to ones versus ones, you have to keep focus. (For the players), it's much the same as going from class to football practice, you change focus."

The offensive line seemed to totally be focused in a team drill that pitted the first team offense and defense against each other for a third down and one-yard to go drill. On the first play, freshman Chubb Small broke into the open on a trap by center Doug Legursky and guard David Ziegler to run untouched over 50 ayrds and might have scored a 65-yard touchdown if the whistle had not blown. Later in the drill, red-shirt freshman running back Gerwin Williams did run the 65 yards to the south end zone to finish the drill and the offense scored twice and converted the first down seven of nine snaps. The offense continued to convert in the goal line, as Wesley Jones continued to line up at right tackle and Seth Cook moved inside to right guard.

"I like big Wes," said Snyder. "He has worked himself into shape and into playing." Jones is a 6-5, 338 pound lineman out of Hines Community College in Mississippi. Marshall is hoping Ryan Baynes, who was lining up at right guard, can return to practice Wednesday and possibly to contact by Friday.

Kicker Ian O'Connor continues to battle for kicking and punting jobs.

Snyder also touched on special teams, especially on the punting and kicking positions. Junior Ian O'Connor handled both last year, but red-shirt freshman Marty Biagi is pushing for the punter position, averaging nearly 43 yards per kick in Saturday's scrimmage. "Marty is really kicking well," said Snyder. "In a perfect world, we would like to have a punter and a place kicker."

NOTES: Bernie Morris, Jimmy Skinner and Derek Devine continue to split snaps with the ones and twos, although Morris and Skinner were the only QBs to throw with the receivers in the 7-on-7 drills...Marshall will practice Wednesday afternoon, and that practice will be open to the public, then the Herd take Thursday off. MU will work out Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., Saturday morning at 10:15 a.m. and Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. as they prepare for the Thursday night kickoff on September 1 at 7:00 p.m. with The College of William and Mary Tribe...Currently, William and Mary officials are preparing a report to the NCAA regarding its nickname, The Tribe, and why it should not be judged "hostile and abusive" to Native Americans...William and Mary's top running back, Elijah Brooks (662 yards in 2004), played at MU in 2003 with Kent State, catching two passes and having four rushes. Brooks said of the MU Joan C. Edwards Stadium crowds, "It's Delaware times two or three and everyone knows how hard it is to play at Delaware." Delaware, a Herd opponent in the I-AA playoffs of the early 1990s, is generally regarded as the toughest venue in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

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