The draft divides the coaching staff equally among the Green and White teams, as are the Marshall seniors. The Green (home) team will be coached by Mike Cummings, Phil Ratliff, Rick Minter, Shannon Morrison and Phil Armatas. The White coaches are Jerry Azzinaro, Todd Goebble, Paul Nichols, John Shannon, Jared Smith and Boomer Philbrick. Staying neutral are head coach Mark Snyder and director of football operations Mark Gale. The Green seniors were safety C.J. Spillman, corner J.J. Johnson, linebacker Ian Hoskins, running back Chubb Small, linebacker Phillip Gamble, running back Kelvin Turner, guard Matt Altobello and tight end Matt Parkhurst. The White team seniors were receiver Darius Passmore, wide out E.J. Wynn, receiver Emmanuel Spann, safety Aaron Johnson, fullback Cody Tominack, linebacker Maurice Kitchens, defensive tackle Joe Bragg, center Brian Leggett and defensive tackle Montel Glasco.
QB Mark Cann was the No. 1 draft pick of MU Spring Game Draft held Thursday at Noon for Saturday's Green-White Game that kicks off at 3 p.m.. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Spann talked about being a senior and how quickly the time has gone by, leading up to this final season after the draft. "I've been here five years and it's hard to believe how fast time has gone by," said Spann, a native of Atlanta, Ga. "I never thought my day would come to be sitting up here to do this, but I hope it will be fun Saturday." Spann knows the final full practice on Friday will lead into the spring game on Saturday, but hopes fans turn out for a game that is always entertaining. "Absolutely. Saturday will be a fun day after we go into Friday as a real bang-up practice, but Saturday will be a real fun day for us and the fans. I'm really looking forward to it." In addition to talking football, Spann also said his brother Tay, a basketball player for coach Donnie Jones, was fine after his automobile accident on Wednesday. "I went and checked on him yesterday, said Spann of his younger brother, a junior transfer from Georgetown who sat out in 2007-08, "and he wa just a little woosy. I just glad he is alive and well."
Senior receiver Emmanuel Spann was one of the captains for the White team as the Herd held its annual spring game draft on Thursday for Saturday's Green-White Game at JCE Stadium at 3 p.m., heard on ESPN 930-AM in Huntington (with a pod cast available at www.wrvc.am on the web). Photo by Greg Perry, Herd Insider.
The draft works as the Green and White alternate selections, opening a position then drafting all the players at that position before moving on. Trainer Josh Signs is on hand to give doubtful, questionable and probable status to the individuals, and at least ten players who were doubtful or questionable for Saturday. Cann was the first pick after the White team won the coin flip, and the Green took Brian Anderson. Surprisingly, Wesley Beardain was then taken by the White as their back-up quarterback which left Johnathan Garner to the Green. Other first picks were Terrell Edwards at running back by the Green, T.J. Drakeford at corner for the White, Lee Smith (Green) at tight end, Ashton Hall (White) at safety, Corey Hart (Green) at linebacker, John Jacobs (White) at defensive end, James Burkes (Green) at defensive tackle, Courtney Edmonson (White) at receiver, John Bruhin (Green) on the offensive line and Craig Ratanamorn (White) at kicker.
Chuck Roberts, at receiver in the spring of '08, picked off this Bernard Morris pass on the first play of the day in the 2007 Green-White game, returning it 47-yards for the White team's only score in a 43-6 win by the Green in front of over 7,900 last year.. photo by Greg Perry/Herd Insider
Snyder is looking forward to a fun day on Saturday as well, although he may have to move some players back and forth with injuries forcing about 20 players to sit out this spring. "We have a lot of good film to watch," said Snyder of the spring. "On Friday, we'll go just like (Wednesday), with another situation. I'm seeing a lot of good things out here. There's a lot of young guys getting a lot of quality reps out there. For the game, I've got a plan in place."
"With competition, the effort needs to be increased especially if you have played. I think all the young guys have gotten better and I have seen improvement every day. John (Shannon, the new offensive coordinator) threw out the number 32 at the Quarterback Club (Tuesday) as the number of practice's needed to gel. We are at (13 on Wednesday), so there's a way to go, but I'm seeing improvement, I really have."
The rest of the week includes a closed practice on Friday, followed by a private reception for the Quarterback Club, MU staff, sponsors, media and all former Marshall football players/coaches/managers/trainer are invited back. Snyder would like to see many players return, as the 1971 "Young" Thundering Herd (with local players like Bob Eshbaugh, Dave Walsh, Rick Meckstroth and Allen Meadows) has designated the spring game as its yearly reunion date. Players like Chad Pennington, who also has his 1st and Ten Foundation event this weekend, Mike Bartrum and Troy Brown are expected back, but so are local former players (like Mark Zban, John Gregory, Mike Barber, Tony Bollard, Reggie Giles and Norm Strickland among many, many others) as well as those out of town it is hoped will attend. The party, outside of former players, is by invitation only. At 11:30 p.m. Friday, the West Lot will be secured and the gates will be locked, while the Annex Lot and Lot A will be roped off at the same time.
Saturday, the lots will open at 10:30 a.m. The cost is $10 per vehicle for those lots secured on Friday night, while the parking garage across from the Henderson Center is $5. All tickets to the Green-White Game are also $5. From Noon to 3 p.m., the MU ticket office will have a Choose Your Seat Day, where fans can find season tickets before the game, and available seats will be marked on both sides of the stadium. Nearly 10,000 fans have already renewed their season tickets from last year's 19,000 sold, plus an addition 4,000 that were purchased as part of mini-season ticket plans.
All former players are asked to meet at the M-Club Pavilion for a tailgate at 12 p.m. at the southwest corner of the stadium that will go until kickoff. At 1 p.m., those former players will join with the current team for "The Thunder Walk" from the M-Club Pavilion up M-Club Drive to 20th Street, then down 20th to the northwest entrance to the West Lot and down to the Shewey Building. The National Anthem will be sung by Kayla DeHart at 3 p.m. and the sponsor of the Green-White Game, a major fund raiser for the QB Club, is Kroger's and they will have representatives at the coin toss. At half-time, former football participants will be introduced. The broadcast of the spring game will be on ESPN 930-AM, starting with a media roundtable at 2 p.m. live from the Ernie Salvatore Press Box.