Herd Completes First Two-A-Day Practices Wed

Marshall's players responded to their first day of two practices with another crisp practice on Wednesday afternoon at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Marshall still had some big hitting by players who are trying to earn, or hold onto, their starting positions for the season opener against the West Virginia Mountaineers on September 2 in Morgantown.

One guy who started camp in the doghouse was defensive tackle Juan Underwood, who played in 11 games last year. Underwood had 37 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles-for-loss last season, but was with the third team to start camp last week after underachieving in summer workouts, according to head coach Mark Snyder. Since the Herd has padded up, however, Underwood has returned to the second team and today he and fellow second team tackle Jeff Bush were splitting some reps with first team tackles Chris Terrell and Byron Tinker. In one-on-one drills against the offensive linemen, Terrell, Tinker and Underwood were seen forcing the offensive linemen back into the chutes (used to keep players low), absolutely dominating the drill.

The Herd continues to work on special teams and today added kick coverage in. Dennis Thorton and Ashton Hall appeared to be working at the gunners, or "Rangers," outside position on punt coverage and Chubb Small is working as the up man for the punt team. Both Ian O'Connor and Marty Biagi had a consistant punting afternoon, with both hanging up 50-55 yard punts in the drills. Placekicker Anthony Binswanger continues to impress in field goal drills, almost never missing, and Binswanger and O'Connor also were kicking off inside the five-yard line or into the end zone.

Marshall continues putting in the offense, but has been somewhat hampered by injuries on the front. Right guard David Ziegler is still missing practice and wearing a blue non-contact jersey. He is being replaced by junior John Inman, who has been running second team left guard. Wesley Jones is getting more and more work, although he is still in the gold jersey from his car accident last month. While Bernard Morris, Ahmad Bradshaw, Shawn Lauzon, Hiram Moore and Emanuel Spann having a good camp is not unexpected, some youngsters are still making an impact especially Kelvin Turner. Turner, having just moved back to running back from cornerback, continued to look good running the ball in the open field while trying to catch up on the offensive playbook. Receivers Travius Thompson, William Barber and Courtney Edmonson are catching the ball very well, while fellow frosh tackle Brandon Campbell has been working some at left tackle with the second team. On the defensive side, cornerbacks Chuck Roberts and Ashton Hall are now running second team. Senior Jeremy Frazie, however, still is the starter opposite of J.J. Johnson and had another interception this afternoon to go with his two this morning. Freshmen linemen Darryl Lake and Michael Janac are making some plays, as are sophomores E.J. Rascoe and Maurice Kitchens. Josh Johnson is getting some time with the first team, as linebackers and defensive linemen are rotated in and out looking for the best 11.

NOTES:Anthony Mackie spoke to the web site www.comingsoon.net about the upcoming movie on the Thundering Herd. Warner Brothers will now release the movie on December 22, hoping to make a huge splash with the film during the important holiday movie season. "Yeah, 'We Are Marshall' is going to be a huge milestone in my career, just because of the type of role and working along with actors that I admire so much, like David Strathairn and Matthew Fox and Matthew McConaughey," said Mackie, who plays Herd senior Nate Ruffin in the movie, who missed the 1970 trip due to injury and was not on the plane that crashed returning from the game at East Carolina on November 14, 1970. Ruffin was a leader of the "Young" Thundering Herd in 1971...there is a web site with a four minute trailer on the movie. You can get a peek at "We Are Marshall" at http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/wearemarshall/featurette/ on the world-wide web...making appearances at practice this afternoon were former MU quarterback John Gregory, a teammate of Coach Snyder's back in 1986-87...also at practice was Jeff Mullins, the Herd's starting tight end last season, as well as long snapper...finally, State Senator Bob Plymale (D-Wayne), a long-time friend of Marshall University, also chatted with Snyder before practice...Hiram Moore, who is working on one-handed catches throughout individual drills every day, made a great catch from the seat of his pants in an early drill. Moore's cleats slipped out in under him on the FieldTurf, but from the seat of his pants, Moore made a terrific -- you guessed it -- one-handed catch on the ground.

Herd Haven Top Stories