Pruett praises UT, Fulmer

He may be the winningest active coach in college football on a percentage basis but Marshall's Bob Pruett was eating humble pie Tuesday as he discussed the Thundering Herd's upcoming game against Tennessee.

Pruett has an NCAA-best winning percentage of .862, well ahead of runnerup Phillip Fulmer (.806), this weekend's coaching opponent. Still, it should be noted that most of Pruett's wins have come against MAC foes such as Akron, Toledo, Kent State and Central Michigan, whereas most of Fulmer's wins have come against SEC foes such as Alabama, Georgia, LSU and South Carolina.

Pruett acknowledged as much during a Tuesday teleconference, chuckling as he noted that ''Coach Fulmer's played a little tougher schedule than I have.''

Like Tennessee, Marshall has produced some high-profile quarterbacks in recent years. Two recent alumni now toil in the National Football League -- Chad Pennington (New York Jets) and Byron Leftwich (Jacksonville Jaguars). They helped Marshall fire up fans and light up scoreboards the past few years but Pruett isn't one to boast.

''We're like just about every offensive team; we try to take what people give us,'' he deadpanned. ''We've been able to throw the ball effectively the past few years because we've had great quarterbacks.''

The jury's still out on whether current QB Stan Hill qualifies as a great quarterback. He is 2-0 as a starter, however, having passed for 292 yards and four touchdowns in last year's MAC title game vs. Miami and having thrown for 344 yards and two TDs in last week's 2003 opener vs. Hofstra.

''He's performed very, very well in the two games he's started,'' Pruett said, ''so we think he can throw the football.''

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