MU Names 2006 Football Captains On Wednesday

Marshall had a teaching practice on Wednesday morning, going 18 periods in shoulder pads and shorts. The Herd rested as they prepare for a special teams scrimmage this afternoon. At the end of practice, the media learned something new as well, when Mark Snyder announced the four players choosen by the team to be captains for the 2006 season. There are two for offense and two from the defense.

Junior center Doug Legursky and junior quarterback Bernard Morris were choosen on the offensive side. From the defense were senior linebacker Matt Couch, who led in the voting by his teammates, and senior defensive end Shavar Greer, who finished just a couple of votes in front of senior saftety Curtis Keyes. Snyder remarked he had never been on a team with two junior captains before, although it is not that uncommon at Marshall. Since 1990, when junior defensive back Derek Grier was named captain as junior and then senior, 11 juniors have served two seasons as captains. Quarterbacks Byron Leftwich and Chad Pennington served for three season during their starting seasons, 2000-01-02 Leftwich and 1997-98-99 for Pennington.

Possibly the longshot of the group might be Greer, who walked on with the Herd from Beckley Woodrow Wilson back in 2002, when he was a red-shirt. Greer did not play at all in 2003 and 2004, then surprised everyone in camp last year by taking the starting spot for six games and playing in all 11. "It's a long way from being a walk-on," said Greer, who reported to Marshall at 6-foot, 215 pounds and who nows plays at 230. "It's a hope and dream of every player to be a captain, but as a walk-on, I didn't really think it was possible. But you have to think positive and work hard." With Greer and Legursky, Marshall has not only two in-state natives as they prepare to play West Virginia on Sept. 2, they are both products of Coach John Lilly's Flying Eagle program at Woodrow Wilson.

"This just shows what a great job Coach Lilly has done. It's what he taught us, as you get older you get into a leadership role. I started at outside linebacker and Coach asked me to move inside. I didn't know if that was the right move, but I said yes to get on the field. I had to learn to use my speed because the biggest percentage of guys were bigger than me, and that has continued here. Coach Snyder is just like Coach Lilly…if you put your head to it, it's all about will power."

Legursky echoed his fellow Beckley native about the lessons learned at Woodrow. "Coach (Lilly) does a great job," said Legursky. "Each day he challenges you to be a senior, even if you are a young player. If you step up every day and make plays, you will earn respect of your teammates. Seniors should always be leaders, but any one can step up and be a leader, and Coach Snyder teaches the same thing." Legursky, a highly touted recruit back in 2003 who has started 12 games, all 11 last year, and appeared in every game since joining the Herd, was very happy to be a junior captain along with Bernie Morris and happy to join Greer as a captain. "When they announced it to the team last night, when we found out, Shevy and I grinned at each other. It is a big thing for two of four captains to be juniors, it shows the team respects us on the field."

Morris said Legursky, senior quarterback Derek Devine and himself are among the hardest workers on the team. "Derek may be the most dedicated on the team," said Morris of Devine, who is battling fellow senior Jimmy Skinner for the backup role to Morris. "Doug and I stayed here all summer, worked out together, played XBox. We got close. It's a big deal for us both to be juniors and named captains by 101 other guys on the team. Our team still has a long way to go, and it's a big deal for the four of us to represent team." Quarterbacks are often leaders, by the very nature of the position, and Morris has assumed that position since the spring. "Last year, we didn't have any seniors at quarterback. We didn't really have a chance to be leaders with Jimmy having just a few snaps, none for me and Derek brand new to the system. Lots of guys have matured and we have to continue to work hard. Sept. 2 is only 12 days aways."

Senior Matt Couch was second in tackles last year and was honored to be named as the top guy in the voting by his teammates. "It's unbelievable," said Couch. "Thanks. For them to have that much respect for me, the other captains, it means a lot." Couch is also encouraged by the practices so far. "We've got a completely different attitude in practice, it's not a drag for guys to come out and work. Our talent and depth is so different." Couch also said even with him and the top tackler from last season, senior Dennis Thornton back, it could be anyone this season. "The top tackler could be anybody this season. Anybody (on the defense), at any time in the game, can make a big play this year."

NOTES: Legursky, David Ziegler and Wesley Jones on the offensive line, tight end Brian Shope, running back Chubb Small and safety C.J. Spillman took snaps throughout the shoulder pads and shorts, one and one-half hour practice. Bernie Morris participated in some option drill, but was allowed to rest his throwing arm for the day as he has taken all the snaps with the first team since August 3…cornerback Jeremy Frazie was also out of his blue jersey and out of the ankle boot he wore the last two days, although he was limited in practice…making pass breakups in skeleton drills (receivers and backs versus linebackers and defensive backs) were Thornton, Keyes and Jon Moravec. Devine did hook up with Shope on a 13-yard gain and later hit Emanuel Spann on a crossing route for a 20 yard gain…the loudest cheer of the practice came in one-on-one drills for the offensive and defensive lines when freshman Josh Evans, from Fayetteville, W.Va. pancaked fellow freshman Bradley Roberts, who is from Poca, W.Va. Of course, Bradley (6-foot-1, 264) gives away a few pounds to Evans (6-foot-4, 315), 51 to be exact. Evans has impressed coaches throughout the spring and has gotten reps with the twos at guard with Ziegler out and John Inman moving around at guard and tackle with the first and second team.

Herd Haven Top Stories