Herd Seniors Prepare For UAB, Final Game Sat.

It has been a disappointing season, record-wise, for the Thundering Herd football team but not for lack of effort. That's true of especially the senior class, who have helped Head Coach Mark Snyder keep the rest of the team focused week to week throughout a trying season. Now, the team and the fans can reward this class of 15 players when they are introduced for the final time at Marshall.

The senior class consists of Will Albin-linebacker, Anthony Binswanger-kicker/punter, Antoine Cabarrus-running back, Kyle Echols-wide receiver, Marcus Fitzgerald-wide receiver, John Inman-left offensive tackle, Shawn Lauzon-wide receiver, Doug Legursky-center, Marcus Moresea-center, Bernard Morris-quarterback, Brian Shope-tight end, Byron Tinker-defensive tackle, Ryland Wilson-defensive end and David Ziegler-offensive guard. Phillip Gamble, listed as a senior, will most likely return next season at safety and special teams if he makes academic progress sufficient to get his prop year back. Also being introduced with this group is punter Marty Biagi, who is in his fourth season but had one year remaining eligibilty, will be hanging up his uniform for a coaching shirt and hopes to be a graduate assistant next season.

"Our seniors need to go out with a win," said Snyder. "They haven't had a lot of success. Bernard Morris has had a career best season. Doug Legursky has played a lot of snaps here." Snyder said after the Houston game he expects it to be a very emotional week for the seniors. "The kids have fought all year. It's senior day for us and we'll have no problem getting up for this game."

UAB enters the contest with a similar 2-9 record to the Herd, but with just one win in seven Conference USA outings behind first-year head coach Neil Calloway. Calloway has had some of the same problems as Marshall, as far as depth and playing first-year players. The Blazers have 12 freshmen in its two-deep as well as 12 sophomores, compared to the Herd's 13 frosh and 10 sophs. "They have done some good things," said Calloway of his young players, "but there have been growing pains. We are looking forward to the future."

One of the big problems is keeping players motivated during the long season, especially when UAB has lost five in a row and seven of the last eight, with all of those losses but one coming in league games. "It's never easy when your record's not good," said Calloway. "But the kids have been resilient. We are just trying to take it one game at a time, putting the last one behind you and moving forward. All the freshmen were very excited at the start of the season that they were getting to play.

"We hit a plateau about week seven or eight. We've regrouped since then and gotten back after it the last few weeks." UAB fell at Memphis on Saturday, 25-9, in a game that earned post-season eligibility for the Tigers. The Blazers allowed nearly 300 yards passing and another 265 yards on the ground to Memphis in the loss. But UAB quarterback Joseph Webb, a sophomore who splits time with senior Sam Hunt, was productive at 14-of-20 for 112 yards. Hunt was 11-of-19 for 121 yards, but the quarterbacks threw two interceptions in the loss. "We have two very fine quarterbacks," said Calloway. "I've made that statement since fall camp. We will continue to play both."

For the Herd, it can even its record at home to 3-3 with a win over UAB. Snyder has been pleased with the evolution of his defense, which has seen young players like Michael Janac, Mario Harvey and D.J. Wingate step up down the stretch. "It's like a snapshot of who we can be," said Snyder, "plus we get back Albert McClellan, we get back 'Glass' (tackle Montel Glasco). The new faces have been exciting." Janac, who moved inside to tackle in the win against ECU, had 11 tackles at Houston. Wingate had six tackles and three passes broken up in his first start at corner against the Pirates, and had 10 more stops against the Cougars. Harvey had seven stops in his third start at the "Will" linebacker, giving him 31 in the last three games.

Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. There will be no television coverage of the game, but can be heard on WRVC 930 AM and WDGG 93.7 FM, "The Dawg," as well as the Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Network starting with the "WV Jeep Dealers Tailgate Show" in the West Lot of the Joan C. Edwards Stadium, staring at 1 p.m. with the "Countdown To Kickoff" show.


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