Here's what some of the Herd had to say on 2008's "Moving Day," before heading over to the stadium to check in, get physicals, adjust equipment, find new locker and get ready for the first of thousands of meetings with coaches. On Monday, the Herd players will have its running test, followed by Media Day on Monday afternoon. The Insider Sportsline and Insider Statewide will have live coverage from the Big Green Room on ESPN 930 AM in Huntington from 4-6 p.m. (and on the ISP Sports Network, and ESPN 1490-AM in Charleston, from 5-6 p.m., and available on a pod cast at www.wrvc.am for those who cannot listen live).
Terrell Edwards displayed his talents in the Green-White Spring Game, rushing for three touchdowns. The red-shirt freshman is in mix for 2008 Herd backfield. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
"I think we had a great summer, and everybody seems to be coming in early so they must be ready to play ball," said Terrell Edwards, the Herd's red-shirt freshman running back. When asked about the thing he will miss the most while living in the residence hall during camp, Edwards quickly replied, "My son." Edwards first child was born three weeks ago this weekend.
"Emmanuel Spann texted me on the way in from Atlanta this morning to say, 'Are you ready,' at 6 a.m. this morning," said senior starting right guard Matt Altobello. "After all the hard work, its nice to see it pay off (as a starter), but I've got a couple of good guys behind me pushing me. I've been here when we had seven, eight healthy offensive linemen, but its nice to have depth."
Albert McClellan has been waiting one year to get back on the field for the Herd, and his first chance comes Tuesday morning to start the 2008 practice. McClellan made many plays like this one on former West Virginia running back Owen Schmitt in 2006 in Morgantown, where the Herd plays on September 27 this season. photo by Greg Perry, Herd Insider
"I would say since August 6th (2007)," said Albert McClellan when asked by a reporter how long he had been waiting for this day to come. That's the day McClellan's knee was hurt in a shoulder pads-and-shorts drill with his best friend on the team, departed senior left tackle John Inman. "I feel good, I feel great. I just want to see how I feel against the big fellows (offensive linemen). I am looking forward to the test."
"It doesn't seem like it could be 25-years since it was me checking in here, but I'm just glad to be here and that my son has an opportunity to come here and compete," said Rob Bowers, a starting tackle for the 1984 team that finally got the first winning seasons in 20 years for the Herd football program. "We had an 800-pound gorilla on our backs. Now, we have to right the ship again, have had some adversity, but Coach Snyder and his staff are on the right track, bringing in some great kids, character-type kids, into the program and that's what it takes to win."
"It's really convenient to have my parents just 20 minutes down the road, not really thrown out of the nest, it's kind of a cushion there. It's real cool to come here where my dad played, it's sentimental just a little bit, but it's gonna be fun," said Chris Bowers, a walk-on tackle from Cabell Midland and son of Rob. "It's really cool to think about in-state guys (like Matt Altobello and Josh Evans) coming in here and now they are starting, they are among the best."
"Cabell Midland is going to be pretty good this year. They have a good tackle named Cole Bowers," said Chris of his high school and his cousin, one of the highest rated in-state recruits. On his early commitment to WVU: "That's disappointing to me, but what are you going to do," said Chris; "We both have worked diligently to make that happen," said Rob of changing Cole to a Marshall commitment. "I know the Marshall coaches will continue to recruit him because there are some good things happening here and (Cole) could come in here and be an impact player (next year)."
"That's the specialty we have got, having so much talent back there. It pushes us to be better and to push the next guy to be better, so when it's game time and someone goes down, we have someone to step up in there," said Chubb Small of the depth at running back. "It's like life, you don't get too many chances so you have to make the most of it when you get on the field and make the best decision when you get that pitch in your hands."
UAB quarterback Sam Hunt was rushed by departed senior defensive tackle Ryland Wilson (left) and by No. 46, junior defensive end John Jacobs, who is looking forward to the return of Albert McClellan to the MU defense in '08. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
"We had a good spring and we are looking to pick it up from there" said John Jacobs, who said having McClellan back out there is a comfort zone for the rest of the defense. " Oh, yeah. You know (Albert) is the guy, and he will get that attention no matter what the circumstances (the knee injury and recovery) so that takes attention away from everyone else back there."
"We've grown and really bonded as a team. A lot of players have stepped up this summer. This program is maturing and growing, and if we can keep this thing going, we will be right (this year)," said C.J. Spillman. "When adversity comes, we have to step up to the challenge."
Memphis QB Martin Hankins (13) had one shot at C.J. Spillman, but couldn't make the tackle when the Herd safety intercepted Hankins and returned the pick 85 yards for a score in the fourth quarter of Marshall's win over the Tigers in 2006.
"They (teammates) hassle us a little bit, about not hitting each other, but we have to work on getting those nerves down. We have to be accurate, top-knotch," said Craig Ratanamorn. "Best I can do is tell (Kase Whitehead) is not to think, just breath," said Ratanamorn about the freshman punter. "My role is kicking, field goals, pat and kickoffs."
Brandon Bullock had to sit out 2007 as a prop, but the 345-pound tackle is ready to make up for missed time in 2008 on the Herd front. photo from Scout.com
"It was challenging," said prop defensive tackle Brandon Bullock about sitting out 2007. "It was rough. There were times I didn't want to play football no more., but then I would get my head together and stuck it out. Delvin Johnson, he was my roommate and is like a brother, now."
"It was kinda hard. It's like everything you ever worked for in your life is taken away. Don't take the game for granted anymore. I like the defense and we have a chance to be something real special, they haven't seen in a long time. Brandon is like my big brother. The friendship is amazing," said Delvin Johnson. Johnson is weighing 302, while Bullock is down to 345 and both are expected to contribute this season.
Red-shirt freshman quarterback Mark Cann looked down the field during the Green-White game, when he hit 16-of-21 for 181 yards. Cann enters fall camp as the Herd's No. 1 QB for 2008. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
"Getting stronger and timing with the receivers," said Mark Cann of the importance of the summer workout program. "Getting to read their bodies (on the break). We had a good lifting and running system this summer, so we are ready to go. It's a fun time and exciting, with the changes that have been made. The running game is going to be important. Establish the running game and the passing game will come. You just take it a day at a time."
"We had a lot of guys here this summer, wanting to work out. We have to go all the way this year, and I believe we have the guys to do that. I believe I am in a lot better shape, I'm cleared, full go, ready to go," said Daniel Baldridge, the starting right tackle who sat out the spring with a shoulder injury. "We had real huge guys, like me (6-foot-9), but they were huge, like Wes Jones, Toby Bullock. We have slimmed those linemen down now, and we have many of them. We've got to bear down and come to play, every day. I will play where every they need me."
NOTES: Zearrick Matthews will miss the first three weeks of the season, after the junior corner broke his foot moving over the weekend...Montel Glasco, who started the first three games of 2007 before injuring his knee, will miss the first three games of 2008 with a torn pec muscle for the senior...Receiver Charles "Chuck" Walker has had a knee injury for a couple of weeks that have had the juco on crutches for a couple of weeks, but the coaching staff expects him to return later this week. He is wearing a knee brace on the right knee, but it does not appear to be a career-challenging injury, and Walker joked he could still make time on the running test with crutches. He appeared to be that fast in summer workouts...Tavarius Thompson, often injured last year, told reporters he felt "real good" heading into this season. The junior lost his first season with NCAA Clearinghouse issues, then was hurt a couple of times, including a sub-Varsity game last year at quarterback and his usual spot of receiver...Chad Schofield, sophomore lineman showed up with hair midway down his back, while many of his teammates were cut very close and some, including sophomore linebacker Kellen Harris, were sans hair...At least 11 walk-ons were getting gear on Sunday...Fayetteville native and true sophomore starting left guard Josh Evans told The Register-Herald newspaper in Beckley, W.Va., he likes the chemistry of Marshall's offensive line this year, calling it a strong point of the Herd offense...Former Beckley /Woodrow Wilson High and MU center Doug Legursky was re-signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday, when the team cut rokie kicker Julian Rauch. Legursky signed as a free agent in the spring, but was cut at the end of June although he may play in the Steelers' first pre-season game on Friday at home versus the Philadelphia Eagles...The Bleacher Report's (bleacherreport.com) Timn McGhee predicts Marshall to upset West Virginia by four points this season in Morgantown. WVU was No. 8 in the nation in Friday's USA Today's Top 25, while Herd oppoenent Wisconsin, where the Herd travels Sept. 6th, was No. 12. Cincinnati, who finished 17th in 2007, received 13 votes, while UCF received two and Tulsa one. MU will host the Bearcats on October 3rd, UCF for homecoming November 15 and Tulsa to close out the season Nov. 29.