Herd Hoots And Hollers In First Day In Pads

Marshall Football got all the pads on for the first time in 2006 in front of a crowd of Herd fans estimated to be nearly 200 strong on a Tuesday afternoon. What those fans saw in the first public practice of the year was hitting by Curtis Keyes, amazing running by Ahmad Bradshaw, some youngsters making their names known to the Faithful and a great start to the first day of full contact.

Marshall head coach Mark Snyder was happy with the hitting in the "Hoot-N-Holler" or Oklahoma drill, where three offensive blockers and a runner try to score in a seven yard-by-seven yard box against three defenders up front and a defensive back playing safety. "I thought we started strong and finished a little slow," said Snyder of the day overall. "I thought I'd see a little bit of a frenzy when we came down here in the red zone (at the end of team), the goal line area. They were a little sluggish, but on the first day of pads we've got to learn to carry our pads. I thought Hoot-N-Holler it went really strong."

On the first play of Hoot-N-Holler, safety Curtis Keyes delivered a withering hit on running back Ahmad Bradshaw, just as Bradshaw appeared to be getting open for a big gain. Keyes scooped up the fumble he caused on the hit. Towards the end of the drill, however, Keyes, Chris Terrell, Juan Underwood and Byron Tinker, three defensive tackles, appeared to have stood up guard Brian Leggett, center Doug Legursky and tight end Brian Shope for a stop on fourth and one, but somehow Bradshaw spun to his right and rode the back of Leggett into the end zone for an improbably touchdown. "There was a bunch of hitting going on," said Snyder. "It was good for the offense, but bad for the defense." The defense got the final stop when linebackers Brandon Souder, Ian Hoskins and Josh Johnson teammed to stop Chubb Small short on a similar fourth and one against linemen John Inman, Chris Barnes and Seth Cook.

Keyes was happy with the intensity of the day, but not surprised by anything Bradshaw does on offense. "I was really proud of my teammates today," said Keyes following practice. "We really came out and worked with the defensive line and linebackers on Hoot-N-Holler and competed. We have to turn it up in the Red Zone, though, just like coach Snyder said, we've got to make a stop down there." Keyes, the lone returning starter in the secondary, is trying to be a vocal leader to all the young talent surrounding him this season. "I got a good look at what I'm working with in the secondary today and I'm proud of them. They went up to get a hit today, and we can fix the rest. Everything is going to be OK back there. We broke it down and everyone is competing, even for my job every day." Bradshaw scored the only touchdown down in the Red Zone drill, but Keyes has great respect for his teammate. "Great players make great plays," Keyes said of the Bluefield, Va. junior. "I made the first play, he made the second play. We're actually 50-50, because he made one and I made one yesterday, but I'll take 50-40 with a great player like that."

NOTES:The offense scored on eight of 18 tries in Hoot-N-Holler, with three downs to score. Keyes and Chuck Roberts had the big hits of the day, Uranius Johnson had a nice run and scored on the next play and Cody Tominack nearly walked in on blocks from Johnson, Bryant Milligan and Courtney Edmonson on three freshman DBs...Chubb Small scored twice and Kelvin Turner, moved from cornerback back to running back on Tuesday, also scored as did Paco Jones...freshman tackle Erik Vint has come to Marshall with 58 hours of college credit already in his file, thanks to advanced classes in high school. Vint, who had a 4.18 GPA for high school, will probably graduate with a chemistry degree in two years and may finish a master's before he plays out his eligibility...In blue "no contact" jerseys today were guard David Ziegler and corner Zearrick Mathews. In gold "limited contact" were tackle Wesley Jones and receiver Darryl Jones...Herd will have first of five "two-a-days" with practices at 9 a.m and 4 p.m. MU will go Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. and another 9 a.m./4 p.m. Friday before scrimmaging on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Marshall will take its first off day on Sunday, August 13. All practices are closed to public.

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