At media day, Marshall Sports Information Director Randy Burnside welcomed all in attendance. MU provided the 2007 Marshall football media guides as well as guides from Conference USA. Uno's Chicago Grill provided the steaks and chicken, having just reopened at Pullman Square. Then he turned it over to the coaches, beginning with Coach Larry Kueck, MU's offensive coordinator for the last six seasons and 1996 as well. Kueck is very high on the offensive side of the Herd's attack for 2007.
I've got some kind of little nickname for our players, so excuse me while I get out a 'cheat-sheet' and get the names that are on their birth certificates," said Kueck. "I've got to say I am very excited about this group of young men," speaking of the Herd's offense. "You are always excited this time of year, but I've got a real neat group to work with this year. We've got some kids who have played for us, we've got some experience and we are developing some depth."
"I think the thing that will help us on offense as much as anything else is just the kind of human beings we have on offense. We had a wonderful summer, working out, throwing the ball. I don't know if we had a guy who we are counting on this fall who wasn't here this summer," continued Kueck. Marshall's new depth allows the coaches to make players be competitive for positions, something that was not always true at some positions in Coach Mark Snyder's first two seasons. "I've got high expectations for the year. They have to go out and perform, but the two things that stood out on day one's practice was the older guys were very business-like. They did a good job of listening, trying to do what the coaches wanted and the practice was very smooth. The other thing was this might be as good a recruiting class as we have had here in a well. We've got a group of five young offensive linemen, the best five linemen we have ever recruited here as a group." Kueck was speaking of John Bruhin, who was projected at guard but worked at center on Thursday; Branden Curry; Sergio Glenn; C.J. Wood; and Kyle Carter.
Personel-wise, Kueck went through the offense. "We will play a lot of kids. Our anchor on offense is Doug Legursky, an extremely strong guy and a top-notch center, a guy who has been with us a long time. You are not going to get him shook up." Legursky has played in all 35 games at Marshall since he joined the team in 2004, and has started 23 games in a row and 24 total. "Some of the new guys include John Inman at left tackle. We moved him there in the spring and had a good spring. Josh Evans is a big, strong West Virginia kid at guard. When he get those hands on you, you are not getting way. Daniel Baldridge has been here awhile at right tackle and knows the system.
Cody Slate is one of the many weapons for the Herd at receiver this season. photo by Greg Perry for Herd Insider.
"We are pretty strong at the tight end position, starting with Cody Slate," said Kueck of the All-C-USA Freshman and All-C-USA sophomore tight end. "Cody is a good as a receiving tight end as I have ever seen. We had to rethink our offense a little. Lee Smith, a transfer from Tennessee, we have high hopes for him at tight end. At receiver, we have a blend of good newcomers and experience. I won't compare him to Randy Moss. I've never been around anyone like that, but we think Darius has a chance to be special. Emmanuel Spann, he's working our inside spot. Bryant Milligan, he really came on in the spring. We got (Marcus) Fitzgerald, he's the kind that can play all three positions. Courtney Edmondson worked at flanker in spring, plus we have Shawn Lauzon back and E.J. Wynn.
"At running back, we have Chubb Small and Kelvin Turner, as talented as of kid as I have ever been around. We got a couple of young kids in Darius Marshall, from Georgia, and Terrell Edwards from Mobile. We will give them a lot of reps in August and see what happens. We've got those good, young offensive lineman and some experience back there as well. The one thing I won't talk about is quarterback." Kueck explained he lives in downtown Huntington, in the West Virginia Building, and he thought the maintenance man there had discussed the quarterback position at Marshall in every way possible. "But what we are doing (with the quarterbacks) is trying to get each of them as many reps as possible here in August. Bernard Morris is the guy with the most experience, he had a great summer. We have him at the front, rolling the rest with groups two and three. We have Brian Anderson, who is one of the brighter quarterbacks I've been around and I have high hopes for him. When you take a picture of him, he may not be all of this, this and this but he is a bright kid.
Marshall has six quarterbacks in camp, but only senior Bernard Morris - shown on a record-setting day against Hofstra in 2006 - has game played experience for 2007.
"Wesley Beardain, on Thursday he may have had the best practice for us he has had since he got here. The young kids, we have Chris Smith from South Point. I was really impressed at practice when he did some things we had emphasized in the film room and he was able to carry those over to the field. Mark Cann, a kid from South Carolina, is a left-hander and I think you'll like him. He is a big, strong kid with a strong arm. And we have another who won't be here today. He lost a very close friend and returned home for the funeral, but Jonathan Garner is a transfer from Georgia Tech and he brings something to the table right now."
Kueck said there was only one problem at quarterback. "Right now, we don't have enough footballs for everyone. We got to give all of them enough reps to find out about the young kids and find out where our older guys are." Kueck told the media he really likes his team. "The are a fun bunch to work with, a fun bunch to go out there (on the field) with every day and I have high expectations for this group of kids."