However, on closer inspection, all of the players who missed on Monday and wore the colors of the WVU Mountaineers were very limited in any period beyond team and some did not practice at all. The cosmetic change for the Herd didn't bring the spark to the team that perhaps the coaching staff was looking for. Marshall was still in a teaching mode, according to head coach Mark Snyder, and some players seemed to have a bit of remedial learning to do.
"It wasn't bad, we didn't have a bad practice," said head coach Mark Snyder after the workout ended. "We got some work done today. The dog days of two-a-days are here and we've got to keep pushing through it." Snyder also commented on the return to white and green jerseys for some of the injured players. "We kept them out of practice but they were back. A lot of those guys are limited but we want to get them healthy and get them back for next Monday to get two weeks to get ready."
Snyder has a definite plan for the four weeks of preseason camp for the Thundering Herd as they prepare for the opener with West Virginia on Sept. 2. "We're looking for fundamentals and technique. That's what I'm looking for most of all," said Snyder. "The first week is about toughness, enthusiasm and effort. The second week is teach, teach, teach, teach, teach. That's where were at right now. We're sharpening the iron. Iron sharpens iron. That's what we were doing last week and into this week. We're in the fundamental stage right now."
Snyder is much happier at this point than he was last season at this time, as he had been hired late and missed all of the 2005 spring with the Herd but the final day and Green-White game. "I think the (young guys) know who to go to, who to block. Now we start look at fundamentals." It's not as if there were not a number of bright spots or fundamentally sound plays for Marshall football on Tuesday in full pads. In the goal line skel periods, Bernard Morris was four-for-four with four touchdowns to E.J. Wynn, Emanuel Spann, Matt Parkhurst (who was back at tight end today, with Cody Slate and Brian Shope not involved in contact plays) and Joe Bragg. Throughout the day, there was limited "thud" contact and quick whistles by the coaches and that was especially true in team periods.
Kelvin Turner, the sophomore from Danville, Ky. was getting more reps at running back with the one offense with Chubb Small and Ahmad Bradshaw sitting out again today. Turner ripped off a 20-or-more-yard run in team and ran the ball well throughout. He later had a 13-yard carry and turned a short pass from Morris into a 20-yard plus gain. Morris drove the offense to a score in team, with a five play, 38-yard drive in a one minute drill. Morris would score on an 18-yard scramble to end the practice, sprung into the end zone on a great comeback block by freshman Bryant Milligan on sophomore linebacker Josh Johnson. Zack Bruhin did some nice blitz pickup with the ones and John Inman played left guard with the ones and right tackle with the twos.
The defense also had some highlights on the day. Cabell Midland red-shirt freshman John Saunders jumped a Hiram Moore route in pass skel and returned the Morris pass over 60-yards for a score. Chris Terrell recorded a four yard tackle for loss at the start of team, nailing Paco Jones in the backfield. He later spent the rest of team on the sidelines when sent off by defensive line coach Thielen Smith. Also making tackles in the backfield were Jon Moravec, who played for Curtis Keyes who got a stinger early in practice and did not return, Albert McCellan (twice) and Shavar Greer. Juan Underwood and Greer combined for a sack on Wesley Beardain against the third string line.
Zearrick Mathews was strong after returning from injury yesterday. He broke up a pass from Bernie Morris to Matt Morris that was a sure touchdown. Earlier in Team, he stepped in front of a very poorly thrown ball by Beardain, intended for Courtney Edmonson who was five yards in the end zone behind Mathews, and No. 11 returned the ball some 35 yards.
NOTES: LaVorne Colclough was a visitor to MU's practice today. The former Herd receiver tied Nate Poole for the lead in receptions with 48 on the 1999 team that was 13-0 and No. 10 in the nation...The Curt Nethercutt Spaghetti Dinner is August 22nd at the Tri-State Fire Academy on Ohio River Road north of Guyandotte from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Over $30,000 was raised by the FOP and Kindred Communications to help the family while Curt, a former Huntington East and Marshall tight end, is off work due to illness at home...Warner Brothers is looking for items from 1970 and 1971 Marshall football to film for use in the end credits of "We Are Marshall," due to be released on Dec. 22. Game tickets, posters, game programs, football equipment, photos, newspapers clippings, programs, jerseys or cleats are just some of the items being sought. Drop them at the MU Office of Communications in Old Main between 1-5 p.m. starting tomorrow through next Tuesday...Paint the Capital City Green is Wednesday starting at 6:45 p.m. at the Embassy Suites in Charleston. Tickets are $35 and must be purchased in advance at the MU Alumni Office on Fifth Avenue or by calling 304-696-3431. The MU staff and seniors will travel to Charleston after the special team scrimmage Wednesday afternoon. The rest of the team will watch "Ashes To Glory," the documentary on the 1970-71 MU football teams which won an Emmy Award for Deb Novak and John Witek..The MU Quarterback Club will have a greet and meet at Benjy's Harley-Davidson on Fourth Avenue in downtown Huntington on Thursday at 6 p.m...Football Fest will feature Mark Snyder and his staff, the Huntington Heroes and local high school coaches, starting at 5 p.m...Choose-A-Seat Day is Saturday at the stadium, starting at 9 a.m. The Herd will have the "Thunder Walk" from the Cam Henderson Center at 10 a.m. and fans are invited to tailgate on the West Lot for free. There will be an inflatable play area for children and radio stations "The Dawg, 93.7 FM-The Voice of the Herd" and "The Planet, 92.7 FM-The Real Rock Station" will both be on hand for remotes. MU's 2006 Football Media Guide will be available for $15 and limited free copies of the Herd Insider 2006 MU Football Pocket Guide will also be available.