There was some great hitting in Monday's practice, and not all of it was over when the whistle blew. "It got a little chippy," said MU head coach Mark Snyder after the practice. "In the heat, and in the process of challenging the "O" after yesterday, they met the intensity of the defense...and maybe the "D" didn't like it. (The offense) showed something today." Synder again mentioned the play of junior back Ahmad Bradshaw and sophomore receiver Emanuel Spann, who made the catch of the day to end practice. Sandwiched between linebacker Brandon Souder and safety Curtis Keyes, Spann momentarily had the ball pop up but recovered and pulled the ball in for a sensational first down gain.
The "chippy" part of practice came early in the team period. On the second play from scrimmage, junior right tackle Chris Barnes and senior defensive tackle Chris Terrell locked up in a short skirmish. Two plays later, it was defensive tackle Bilal El-Amin and giant right tackle Daniel Baldridge who had to be seperated on the ground. A real "Pier Six" brawl broke out three plays later when cornerback Chuck Roberts and E.J. Wynn exchanged punches downfield. A defensive player shoved another offensive players from behind and nearly a half-dozen players were soon being seperated by coaches and grad assistants, like Wilbur Hargrove and Willie Smith. Snyder called a quick huddle and after a short "come to Jesus" meeting at mid-field, the rest of team proceeded without incident.
Defensive tackle Byron Tinker, who has claimed the other starting spot beside Terrell, said this kind of intensity is going to be needed in the early part of the Herd's season. "We will need that early at West Virginia, Tennessee and Kansas State," said Tinker, "but after practice we shake. We love each other." Tinker, who missed all last season with an injury, is happy with his, and the defensive line's, progress to date. "I am very excited about this season and very blessed to be out here. I missed being out here, but the team went on and did what it had to do. We're jelling real good on the defensive line. Each unit is like a brotherhood and we're becoming a good brotherhood. That spirit is spreading throughout the team. Things are going good."
As for Tuesday's practice, Snyder is looking for certain things. "We're hitting (in shoulder pads) but not really hitting," said Snyder. "I want to see toughness between the whistles. Hoot-N-Holler is full speed ahead." Marshall officials remind fans that no recording devices, such as cameras or video phones, or note taking is allowed for the practice by the public, the first of two practices open to the public. The Marshall scrimmage on August 19th, with the final "Choose-A-Seat Day" promotion of the year for selling season tickets, will also be open to the fans.
NOTES: A scary moment during team when freshman corner Ashton Hall's helmet hit Travius (pronounced "Ta-VAR-us") Thompson's knee during a reception on the sideline. After the trainers tested his knee, Thompson got up and did some light jogging on the sidelines for the remainder of practice. "Just a young kid trying to make a play," Snyder said of Hall...Coach Bobby Pruett made an appearance at practice today, with two of his grandchildren. Also appearing at practice was ESPN's Dan Shoemaker, recently relocated to Charlotte, N.C. and the chairman of the Marshall Board of Governors, Menis Ketchum...Anthony Binswanger (pronounced "Bens-wonger", according to the kicker to "Voice of the Herd" Steve Cotton) has yet to miss a field goal on his own. The only misses were either blocks or poor snaps, and Jimmy Skinner appears to be the holder for Binswanger for this year. He hit 7-of-7 today, with a long of 39...Marty Biagi hit a punt of 60-yards, with three of 40-45, while Ian O'Connor had a pair of 55 yard efforts and three in the 40-45 yard range...O'Connor reached the endzone with one kickoff, but shanked another out at the 15-yard line...Hiram Moore returned to practice on Monday. No word on where he was on Sunday...In blue jersey's today were Darius Lewis and Zearrick Mathews, for the second day, and receiver Darryl Jones. Wesley Jones was upgraded to gold and took some reps at right tackle. Chris Barnes took reps with the ones as well at right tackle, and with the twos at left tackle...Brett Riffey appearing to be long snapping with more zip, and sophomore Sean McClellan is very quick on the long snap...Bernard Morris continues to look sharp in practice, throwing perfect fades in consecutive passing attempts to different receivers in different corners of the end zone. He hit first Emanuel Spann to the back right courner, then found Shawn Lauzon in the other corner. He missed his first two passes in team, although one was a catchable drop by Spann, then hit five in a row for 51 yards in third and five and third and seven drills, while running for 27 yards on two scrambles...Wesley Beardain ran the ball well, also, piling up 25 yards in two carries...Maurice Kitchens had another sack in team, a daily occurance in camp, as well as a couple of other stops. Juan Underwood had a quarterback pressure, Albert McCellan also had two stops, while John Jacobs and Michael Janac each had a sack.