Saturday Scrimmage A Mixed Bag For Herd

Marshall officially closed camp with an open scrimmage at Noon on Saturday, drawing a crowd approaching 500 fans on another hot, sticky day at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Many Herd fans were buying season tickets and joining the Big Green early this morning but the bulk of fans were there for a second look at the Marshall football team for 2006. As with any scrimmage, there was good and bad.

"There were too many penalties at the corner. It was their first time under the lights with a crowd," said Coach Mark Snyder at the end of the shortened "practice game." Quarters were only eight minutes long, and the squad was divided into the 60 or so on the travel team, with the other 40 or so on the far sidelines under the Herd graduate assistants. It was only the second open to the public practice the Herd has held in camp. "We had three penalties at corner, which has been happening in practice when we have refs here." Snyder was impressed with the "White" team of second and third team players, who came out and drove for a touchdown in the opening drive behind red-shirt freshman quarterback Wesley Beardain.

Emmanuel Spann made this catch during the second half of the scrimmage on Saturday.

"I was impressed with our second offensive line," said Snyder. "We're getting better there. They ran the ball. Our first team didn't run the ball. I promise you, the White out-rushed the Green today and that is a tribute to those young guys. They're coming." Snyder's assesment was true, if you removed the 23 yards lost by the White QBs in sacks by the Green. The White team played just like you would expect, with the enthusiasm of young players who are still trying to earn a spot on the travel team to West Virginia. "Anytime you have this kind of scrimmage, they have something to prove. They are trying to make the bus. We'll go back and evaluate it (on video). I like the enthusiasm, their attitude. I was impressed with the (second team) offensive line, we were getting a push. Our future is bright there."

Snyder also wanted to get a closer look in the next two weeks at some other freshmen, including true freshman defensive tackle Michael Janac. "Mike's a good player, going to be a good player for us. We'll get a better look in the nest two weeks to see if he can't replace someone on the varsity." Snyder also admitted they were trying the freshman corners, as well as junior Terick Thomas, looking for someone to step up in a practice where all phases of the Herd's attack were not revealed. "We limited what we did offensively, on both sides of the ball. We wanted to test our corners and there's no question, (the Green team) started slow. We have to start faster, especially on defense."

Cody Tominack scored on this two-point conversion in the second half.

Kevin Perry is one of four true or red-shirt freshman corners trying to unseat senior Jeremy Frazie opposite of J.J. Johnson on the outside. Perry had an interception that led to the first Green lead of the game late in the second quarter. "You have got to keep working every single day. The White team came out strong and tested us today. We needed a big play and fortunately the D-line got some pressure on (Beardain). I ran under the wide receiver and got the interception, when I saw the receiver do a short route and broke on it as quick as I could." Perry knows the competition will continue at corner, possibly right up to the opening game. "We are all competing and getting better. It makes the team better with all of us are competing. You have got to be ready to come in at the drop of a dime, someone can get tired or hurt. You have to get ready." Perry knows that Monday, his time at Marshall will change from just football. "On Monday, it becomes class and football," said Perry, a 5-foot-10, 165 pound back from Bob Jones H.S. in Madison, Alabama. "I've just got to get the schedule straight and keep my head in the books, that's what you have to do."

Other players who stood out on the day were the quarterbacks. Bernard Morris was 6-for-10 for 47 yards, no interceptions and one touchdown. Brian Shope caught the 15-yard score to put the Green up 9-6 at the half. Derek Devine ran the first team in the second half and was 6-for-14 for 128 yards and one interception. He hit Matt Morris for a 28-yard touchdown to finish a six play, 64-yard drive which included a 45-yard pass to Hiram Moore. The interception, however, came with 2:41 to play in the game and the Green clinging to the lead. Devine was picked by safety Phillip Gamble trying to find E.J. Wynn on first-and-ten and Gamble went 65 yards for a score that had the White team in position to win. "You have got to live and learn from that," said Devine after the scrimmage. "The best thing about that was the drive after that, being able to bounce back and grab some composure. I was able to forget about the pick and drive us down for a winning score at the end of the scrimmage." Devine, who had only one series behind center as a junior college transfer in 2005, is happy to have moved up the depth chart behind Morris. "I feel like I'm making progress. I don't know if you're ever really where you want to be, but I'm light years ahead of last year. I'm going to be patient and wait my turn. My time to come, but I still want lots of improvement the next two weeks."

Cody Tominack rushed six times for 23 yards, almost four yards per carry for the backup to Will Albin at fullback, and powered into the end zone for a two-point conversion following the Gamble touchdown. Beardain threw the best he has all camp, as the White team used some tight ends in protection to give him time to throw. The Winona, Mississippi red-shirt freshman was 5-for-11 for 49 yards, a 21-yard touchdown pass to freshman Courtney Edmonson and one interception. Gamble returned two kickoffs for 43 yards and punters Ian O'Connor and Marty Biagi were dead even at three punts each for 46.3 and 47.0 yards per punt, respectively. O'Connor had a 59-yard punt, Biagi a 51 yarder. Anthony Binswanger was 1-for-1 on field goals, hitting from 41 yards, but was just 1-for-3 on extra-points, having one blocked up the middle and missing a final kick wide right. His opening kickoff was three yards deep in the end zone. John Jacobs had two sacks on true freshman quarterback Brian Anderson, who was 0-for-2 passing in his first scrimmage action. Dnnis Thorton also sacked Beardain. Uranius Johnson, Terick Thomas and Beardain were game captains for the White, while Doug Legursky, B. Morris, Shavar Greer and Matt Couch were the Green (and are the 2006 team) captains.


RUSHING Cody Tominack 6/23, two-point conversion; Brian Anderson 2/-15; Wesley Beardain 1/-8; WHITE TEAM 9/0. Bernie Morris 2/11; Paco Jones 3/3; Kelvin Turner 3/0; GREEN TEAM 8/14.
PASSING Wesley Beardain 11-5-1, 49 yards, TD (21 yds.); Brian Anderson 2-0-0, 0; WHITE TEAM 13-5-1, 49 yards, TD. Bernie Morris 10-6-0, 47 yards, TD (15 yds.); Derek Devine 14-6-1, 128 yards, TD (28 yds.); GREEN TEAM 24-12-1, 175 yards, 2 TD.
RECEIVING Courtney Edmonson 2-30, TD (21 yds.); Uranius Johnson 2-11; Darryl Jones 1-8; WHITE TEAM 5-49, TD. Emanuel Spann 4-26; Hiram Moore 3-54; Matt Morris 2-34, TD (28 yds.); Bryant Milligan 1-36; Brian Shope 1-15, TD; Marcus Fitzgerald 1-10; GREEN TEAM 12-175, 2 TD.
PUNTING Biagi 3/141 (47.0), long 51; O'Connor 3/139 (46.3), long 59; TOTAL 6/280 (46.7).
FIELD GOALS/EXTRA-POINTS Anthony Binswanger FG 1-1 (41); X-PT 1-3 (block, wide right).
RETURNS Punt returns-Emanuel Spann 1-7. Kickoff returns-Phillip Gamble 2-43 (21.5); Brandon Souder 1-5; Chuck Roberts 1-9; TOTAL 4-57 (14.25 per return). Interception returns-Phillip Gamble 1-65, TD; Kevin Perry 1-0; TOTAL 2-65 (32.5 per return).
DEFENSE Terick Thomas 6 TKL, 2 TFL (-4), PBU; John Jacobs 4 TKL, 2 QBS (-15), 2 TFL (-15); Phillip Gamble 4 TKL, TFL (-1), INT (65-TD); Albert McClellan 3 TKL; Geremy Rodamer 2 TKL; Curtis Keyes 2 TKL, QBP; Michael Janac 2 TKL, TFL (-2); Brandon Walker 2 TKL; Chris Terrell 2 TKL; Dennis Thorton TKL, QBS (-8), QBP, TFL (-8); Chad Clay TKL, QBP; Jeremy Frazie TKL, PBU; Pete Culicerto TKL, PBU; Anthony Binswanger TKL; Byron Tinker TKL; Juan Underwood TKL; Clint Eakles TKL; Paco Jones TKL; Peter Graziani TKL; Howard King TKL; Darrell Lake TKL; Bradley Roberts TKL; Josh Johnson TKL; Bilal El-Amin TKL; Blake Merritt TKL; Brandon Souder PBU, QBP; Kevin Perry INT; Jeff Bush BLK KICK; DeNathian Robinson PBU; Ashton Hall PBU (KEY: TKL-tackle; TFL-tackle for loss; QBS-quarterback sack; QBP-quarterback pressure; PBU-pass broken up; INT-interception; BLK KICK-blocked kick)

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