Herd Wraps Final "Camp" Practice On Wednesday

Marshall Football "officially" closed pre-season camp today with a final practice before beginning "Game Week" preparations for the opener on September 1 at 7:00 p.m. with the College of William and Mary at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Head Coach Mark Snyder had told his players last Saturday that camp was still in until Wednesday and will now give the team Thursday off to rest their legs. It will be all William and Mary, all the time, coming up on Friday afternoons closed practice.

All practices will be closed throughout next Wednesday, as Marshall puts the game plan in. One thing Snyder added to practice today was music...loud rock and roll over the stadium speakers, to replicate the noise of the Herd Faithful next Thursday at 7:00 p.m. "The music today was to get us used to using hand signals," said Snyder. "That was Rich's (head equipment manager Rich Worner, who was at the PA and music mixer in the press box on Wednesday) music, AC/DC. Defensively, when we are at home, we want it to be as loud as possible so our defense has to use hand signals. And (so) our offense, on the road, get to use the hand signals to communicate in a loud environment."

Returning to practice today was guard Ryan Baynes, although in a gold non-contact jersey. Snyder was also happy with some of his newcomers today, who have had to deal with moving, new classes on a new campus and trying to focus at practice, despite the tiring routine of pre-season camp in August. "Yeah, a lot of those guys are getting their legs back. We are going back over some things to see what is sticking and we will keep doing that until we start to put our package in for William and Mary." That will come Friday afternoon. Coming up on Saturday will be, what Snyder is calling, "One of the biggest fund raisers of the year for the quarterback club, the membership drive. I hope to see a lot of people out at that." The QB Club Membership Drive is Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Huntington, Third Avenue and 10th Street. The cost is $100 per person.

Today at practice, the offensive line continued to jell, as quarterback Bernie Morris took the bulk of snaps with the "ones." The offense moved the ball well in team, getting big plays from Chubb Small again. Morris and Jimmy Skinner were extremely sharp in "blitz pickup," not getting the ball off in one of 12 snaps and finding the "hot" receiver time after time. Hiram Moore, Ahmad Bradshaw and Nate Manns all had a very good period, although the defense is largely going "thud" and not tackling to the ground, just making impact to prevent late injuries with the opener only eight days away. In special teams, Ian O'Connor hit 4-of-5 field goals, only missing from 50 yards and nailing a 41-yard field goal by running in, setting up and kicking in 17 seconds, like at the end of a game. Marty Biagi averaged over 43 yards per punt as well. One of the days highlites was provided when Paco Jones fumbled, then had to chase and recover four batted balls by the head coach of the Herd in a "learning" drill.

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