"We were really sharp tonight, real crisp," said Snyder afterwards with a big smile. "I thought we threw and caught the ball as well as we have all camp. The kids really seem ready to play someone else." Snyder stopped short of naming a starting quarterback in the duel between junior Jimmy Skinner and sophomore Bernard Morris, although Skinner worked with the first unit most of today's practice after Morris worked with the ones on Saturday morning. Both threw well today.
Snyders' counterpart with The Tribe has already made his decision about his starting QB. William and Mary head coach Jimmye Laycock announced Sunday The Tribe would go with sophomore Mike Potts, who will make his first career start. Potts played in three games last season and has completed seven of 17 attempts for 84 yards and one score. He beat out red-shirt freshman Jake Phillips for the starting job, although, like Marshall, both quarterbacks are expected to see playing time. "I feel both have the ability to lead this team," said Laycock, in his 26th year at his alma mater, "but for right now the extra snaps Mike took last season have put him a bit ahead."
Snyder is reminding his team, as well as Herd fans, to expect a tough opener at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium Thursday night. "When you step up a level," said Snyder, "it's not hard to get your kids fired up. William and Mary played North Carolina very well last season." The Tribe lost 49-38 at UNC to open last season, but led 24-14 at the half and 31-28 at the end of the third quarter before the Tar Heels rallied for the win.
Marshall was moving some players around tonight to help ensure depth at some positions. Freshman Brian Leggett took snaps with the first team at center, which allowed Nate Howard to work at center with the second team. Lined up at right guard beside Howard was starting center Doug Legursky, getting some reps at another position. "That will insure we have depth on the offensive line," said Snyder. "Legursky is smart enough to do that (play other positions), but I like Leggett. Brian is a nice looking kid and he will help us this year.
"Our health, for the most part, has been pretty good," continued Snyder, "but when we play this Thursday, we'll find out if we are really healthy. There will be a bunch of game day decisions." Willie Smith continued to wear a gold, non-contact jersey and was joined by wide receiver Matt Morris. Morris caught balls with the receivers in individual drills, however. Shawn Lauzon moved up to the first unit in his place, along side of Wiilbur Hargrove and Hiram Moore. Floyd Wright missed practice with "academic issues," according to Snyder, but is expected to play Thursday.
NOTES: William and Mary game notes are available at the team web site, www.tribeathletics.com under football...Both coaches, Snyder and Laycock, will have their first media teleconferences on Monday with the media from both the Atlantic 10 and Conference USA...If Marshall wins the game over W&M, it will be the 500th win in MU history. Marshall is currently 499-462-47 all-time, a 52 percent winning mark...The Tribe is playing a I-A opponent on the road for the eighth consecutive season and opening at a I-A for the fourth year straight. They are 1-6 in those games, knocking off Temple in Philadelphia in 1998, 45-38...W&M is 3-7 in its last 10 games on artificial turf, although it has won the last two in a row, at JMU and at Towson last season...William and Mary needs five wins to reach 500 in school history (495-484-11 in 110 seasons)...Laycock (W&M 1970) and Snyder (MU 1988) are both coaching their alma maters. Othern alumni coaching their school on the Herd's schedule are Virginia Tech, coached by alumnu Frank Beamer (VT 1969), and Southern Miss, with head coach Jeff Bower (USM 1975).