Herd Pads Up For Third Spring Practice

Marshall finally put the pads on for the first time and it didn't take very long for Ahmad Bradshaw to return to form, taking the very first hand-off in the Oklahoma drill, known to the Herd as "Hoot-N-Holler," in for a easy touchdown. After that, however, the defense really asserted itself and only allowed five more scores in 15 first, second and third down and short situations, where it is basically four-on-four for five yards. Setting the tone, physically, was the goal for the Herd Saturday.

"It looked like the first day in full pads," said Marshall head coach Mark Snyder of the hit-and-miss way practice played out. "Everything becomes more difficult, you have to learn how to carry your pads, and we had more busts, because you get tired and get hurt." The Herd had three players leave the practice hurt, although tackle Wesley Jones (whose bell was rung in the Oklahoma drill), fullback Cody Tominack (elbow) and Curtis Keyes (foot) are all expected back on Tuesday. "I love the enthusiasm, however. It looked alot different to me," said Snyder of last year's spring, when he only saw the final practice and the spring game.

Bernie Morris lit up the defense on the third play of team with an 80-yard option keeper that he took for a touchdown. Snyder said the quarterbacks, normally not hit in red jerseys, would be live all spring on the option. "I thought (Bernie) looked good on that, and no one on our defense could catch him," said Snyder. "The defense threw a few blitzes at us today," said Morris. "We got after it, they got after it. The option was not set up for a cutback, but I took what the defense gave me. I never even ran a run that long before I was winded, but it was just like a game. A lot of guys have gotten stronger and a lot of guys have got faster," said Morris, "and I'm now running a 4.55-40. Coach (Mike) Cochran has done a great job in the offseason."

The passing game was not quite as smooth as the running game, due to the first day throwing in shoulder pads and the things the defense, in stunts and blitzes, threw at the offense, who only had center Doug Legursky, at center, as a starter on the one line from last season in the same position (although Seth Cook is now learning left tackle instead of right,where he started two years). Jimmy Skinner did throw a pretty 25-yard completion to Emmanuel Spann, who is returning from knee surgery, for his only passing attempt of the day. "It was a check we made at the line of scrimmage, and it worked out good," said Skinner. "You figure the first day of pads will be sloppy. The defense brought a lot today and I'm glad they did, it will help the offense out in the end, but not too bad of a start today." Overall, the quarterbacks hit only 2-of-13 passing attempts in team for 30 yards and threw three interceptions. Senior linebacker Dennis Thorton took a Wesley Beardain pick 41 yards for a score, and Terick Thomas and Ian Hoskins also had interceptions, while Shavar Greer had two sacks and E.J. Rascoe and Daniel Wells also had sacks.

Running wise in team, Bradshaw had four carries for 55 yards, Gerwin Williams carried five times for 17 yards, Chubb Small had two for 11 yards and Paco Jones had two for 10. Morris was sacked twice, while Derek Devine and Beardain were each sacked once. Marshall will return to the practice field on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. and hold a special teams scrimmage on Wednesday. In kicking during practice, Anthony Binswanger hit 4-of-5 kicks, missing from 37 yards, and Ian O'Connor hit 3-of-4 kicks, also missing from 37. O'Connor punted three times for 41.7 yard average, while Marty Biagi punted three times for a 40.6 average.

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