Herd Makes Debut At 21 In Coaches Poll
Heisman Trophy Candidate Byron Leftwich
The 2002 football season is now just weeks away, and the first major poll of the year, the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, has Marshall ranked 21st entering the season.
The Herd, coming off an 11-2 campaign in 2001, returns 10 starters on offense from a squad that averaged more than 500 yards of total offense per game. That group is led by senior quarterback and Heisman Trophy Candidate Byron Leftwich.
Marshall enters the 2002 season in the same position in the poll it closed last year in. The Herd jumped to 21st in the final rankings last year after posting a thrilling 64-61 double overtime victory over East Carolina in the GMAC Bowl.
Marshall will open the 2002 season on Saturday, August 31, at home against one of the top ranked teams in Division I-AA, the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Kickoff for the game at Marshall Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
The Thundering Herd will begin official preparations for the season next week. A group of 35 first year players are expected to report to campus on Monday and begin three days of workouts on Tuesday.
Returning varsity players will report to campus on Thursday, August 8. Friday, August 9, will consist of conditioning tests and picture/media day before two-a-day practices begin on Saturday.
All Marshall practices are open to the general public. Fans may also purchase copies of the 2002 Marshall Football Media Guide, either through the Athletic Ticket Office or at various practice sessions.
Herd fans are also reminded that season tickets for what promises to be a Magnificent 2002 season are still available through the Marshall Athletic Ticket Office. Call 1-800-THE-HERD to get more information.
ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll
Others receiving votes: Texas A&M (158), Auburn (150), UCLA (114), Kansas State (110), Boston College (85), Brigham Young (84), Georgia Tech (70), Syracuse (66), Illinois (55), Oregon State (54), Clemson (46), Purdue (45), Utah (44), Fresno State (42), Mississippi (41), Arkansas (40), Colorado State (39), Southern Mississippi (23), Iowa State (22), Stanford (21), Notre Dame (18), Hawaii (14), Arizona (12), Iowa (11), Texas Tech (11), Boise State (7), Pittsburgh (7), North Carolina (4), Toledo (4), Virginia (3), Minnesota (2), West Virginia (2), Louisiana Tech (1), UNLV (1), Wake Forest (1).
|1. Miami (Fla.) (34)
||No repeat champ since '94-95.
|2. Texas (9)
||Can Simms lead the 'Horns to a Fiesta?
|3. Oklahoma (11)
||Defense isn't the question in Norman.
|4. Florida State (7)
||Bobby and the boys are back.
||Ad-visor-y: Fullmer rules SEC roost
||Buffs could run to Big 12 title.
||Ten starters back but not the head coach.
||QB Jammal Lord replaces Eric Crouch.
||WR Reggie Williams is a must-see.
||Best of the Big Ten in another down year.
||'Dawgs nipping at heels of UT and UF.
|12. Ohio State
||Eight home games a huge help.
||Is QB Matt Mauck the answer?
|14. Washington State
||Never posted back-to-back 10-win seasons.
||Another billboard. Another banner year?
|16. Virginia Tech
||RB Lee Suggs needs to be healthy.
||QB Dave Ragone is one of nation's best.
|18. Michigan State
||Seven of first eight are at home.
|19. Southern California
||What passes for football in L.A.
||Are there seconds in Fridge Fever?
||QB Byron Leftwich is Heisman caliber.
|22. South Carolina
||Lou Holtz continues to amaze.
||WR Lee Evans should return for Big Ten.
|24. Penn State
||Eight home games = happier valley.
|25. N.C. State
||Philip Rivers may be ACC's best QB.
The ESPN/USA TODAY Board of Coaches is made up of 61 head coaches at Division I-A institutions. All are members of the American Football Coaches Association. This season's voters: Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin; Gary Barnett, Colorado; Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech; Mike Bellotti, Oregon; Todd Berry, Army; Jack Bicknell, Louisiana Tech; Larry Blakeney, Troy State; Bobby Bowden, Florida State; Tommy Bowden, Clemson; Jeff Bower, Southern Mississippi; Mack Brown, Texas; Watson Brown, Alabama-Birmingham; Keith Burns, Tulsa; Lloyd Carr, Michigan; Larry Coker, Miami (Fla.); Gary Crowton, Brigham Young; Gary Darnell, Western Michigan; Darrell Dickey, North Texas; Randy Edsall, Connecticut; Ralph Friedgen, Maryland; Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee; Al Groh, Virginia; Walt Harris, Pittsburgh; Pat Hill, Fresno State; Terry Hoeppner, Miami (Ohio); Lou Holtz, South Carolina; Bobby Keasler, Louisiana-Monroe; Dirk Koetter, Arizona State; Mike Kruczek, Central Florida; Steve Logan, East Carolina; Rocky Long, New Mexico; Sonny Lubick, Colorado State; Bill Lynch, Ball State; Ron McBride, Utah; Dan McCarney, Iowa State; Andy McCollum, Middle Tennessee; John Mackovic, Arizona; Glen Mason, Minneosta; Rick Neuheisel, Washington; Gary Nord, Texas-El Paso; Joe Novak, Northern Illinois; Houston Nutt, Arkansas; Tom O?Brien, Boston College; Lee Owens, Akron; Joe Paterno, Penn State; Gary Pinkel, Missouri; Mike Price, Washington State; Bob Pruett, Marshall; Nick Saban, LSU; Jackie Sherrill, Mississippi State; R.C. Slocum, Texas A&M; John L. Smith, Louisville; Frank Solich, Nebraska; Bob Stoops, Oklahoma; Bob Toledo, UCLA; Chris Tormey, Nevada; Tommy Tuberville, Auburn; Ron Turner, Illinois; Bobby Wallace, Temple; Tyrone Willingham, Notre Dame.
The AFCA prohibits coaches from voting for schools on major NCAA probation.