Herd Closes Two-A-Days With Solid Scrimmage
The Marshall coaching staff put the Thundering Herd through a long scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Marshall University Stadium to officially bring two-a-days to an end.
The teams worked on a multitude of situations during the 2 1/2 hour session that drew several hundred loyal Herd supporters despite occasional drizzle.
ďI thought we showed a lot of improvement over our Wednesday scrimmage,Ē Marshall coach Bob Pruett said. ďOur conditioning held up well and we didnít get anyone injured. That is always a concern with a full scrimmage like this.Ē
The coaches worked the first 45 minutes of the session on a wide variety of kicking game situations -- everything from punting, kickoffs, onside kicks, PAT/field goals to safety kicks.
The next two hours saw the first and second units on both offense and defense alternating against each other.
Unofficial stats on the day showed that the Herdís first defense was very stingy against both the run and the pass. Linebackers Michael Owens and Duran Smith both had big days, as did defensive ends Ralph Street and Kelvin Smith.
Owens was credited with four touch sacks and a pass breakup while During Smith had a pair of big tackles, a PBU and an interception that he returned 104 yards for a touchdown. Street also had a pair of sacks and a tackle for loss while Kelvin Smith had a TFL and a PBU.
The Herdís first two quarterbacks both got plenty of work in the scrimmage. Junior starter Byron Leftwich completed 22 of 32 passes with one interception for 248 yards and a pair of scores. Redshirt freshman backup Stan Hill connected on 20 of 32 throws for 116 yards and one score. Third teamer Andrew English completed five of 11 throws with one interception for 28 yards.
The ground game was somewhat limited in the workout, with sophomore Franklin Wallace leading the way with 12 carries for 48 yards and a score. He was also on the receiving end of a 60-yard touchdown pass from Leftwich late in the session.
The leading receiver on the day was junior Denero Marriott with seven catches for 67 yards and a pair of scores. Sophomore Darius Watts had four catches for 55 yards and redshirt freshman Josh Davis made six catches for 51 yards.
Junior punter Curtis Head appeared to still have the lead in the race for the place kicking job. He hit on two of three field goal attempts and all three of his PAT kicks. Head also received some of the most audible crowd reaction for his booming punts.
The Herd will take Sunday off before returning to work Monday in preparation for their Sept. 1 season-opener against top-ranked Florida. With classes starting on Monday, the team will start with itís regular season practice schedule and will work out at 6:30 Monday evening.