MCGILL: Brady's Breakout Bodes Well For Others On Offense|
Sept. 13, 2017
By Chuck McGill
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Tyre Brady’s 248-yard performance at North Carolina State could be a season-long benefit for the Marshall football team.
The junior's record-breaking performance – the most receiving yards by a player in the 52-year history of N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium – garnered nationwide attention. Brady’s output is tied for the fourth-most in Marshall history, the most by a Herd player on the road, the most by an MU player against an FBS program and the fifth-most by a receiver in Conference USA history. Brady earned C-USA Offensive Player of the Week honors, and Pro Football Focus placed Brady on its National Team of the Week. Brady was the only Group of 5 player on the team.
That should turn some heads, sure, but more importantly for the Herd it should alter game plans in the coming weeks and months.
“I have a tough time believing that Kent State comes in here Saturday and tries to play him straight up man-to-man,” said Ryan Yurachek, Marshall’s senior tight end. “(Brady) brings a new element to our offense that maybe we haven’t had here in the past couple years; a receiver you can’t guard one-on-one. He’s that type of person. We look for not only Kent State, but hopefully everybody, for the rest of the year to put a little more attention on him and open it up for other people.”
Marshall (1-1) hosts Kent State (1-1) at Joan C. Edwards Stadium this Saturday. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
What fans see on the field after the opening kick might be precisely what Yurachek predicts. At least, Marshall coach Doc Holliday is in agreement.
“If you’re taking two people to bracket, that’s what you want,” Holliday said.
Bracket coverage involves using two players to defend one receiver. From there, it is simple mathematics as to why it is an advantage for the Herd.
“If you get a guy at receiver who takes two guys to bracket … you lose people in run support and open up some other areas,” Holliday said.
That could be the boost the Thundering Herd running game needs. Marshall has rushed 50 times for 160 yards in two games – and average of 3.2 yards per attempt. MU is one of two Conference USA teams without a rushing touchdown.
Meanwhile, Brady has flourished in his first two games at Marshall. He has 14 receptions for 302 yards and two touchdowns, which rank him No. 2 nationally in receiving yards per game. Brady’s numbers are staggering, but they’re more impressive when one considers he missed the second half of the season opener against Miami.
Brady leads all FBS players with seven 20-yard plays … and he has accomplished that in six quarters of action.
“After watching that tape there are going to be a lot of people who are going to be concerned about where he is and where he lines up,” Holliday said. “That only helps us in other areas, if that’s the case. We haven’t had that around here for a while.
“You won’t have as many guys in the box.”
That, Holliday said, will aid others. Perhaps Marshall’s running backs – Keion Davis, Trey Rodriguez, Anthony Anderson and Tyler King – can get the running game going. Maybe it will be Yurachek, who has a streak of 31 consecutive games with a reception, or receivers Marcel Williams and Willie Johnson.
Brady’s big plays could have big ramifications for others. He had three plays of 30-plus yards in the 37-20 loss at N.C. State. The performance earned Brady the honors of offensive captain, Holliday announced Tuesday afternoon.
“That’s Tyre,” Marshall quarterback Chase Litton said. “That is the guy who goes out and puts in the work, day in and day out. He wanted to go out and play for his team. It wasn’t a me thing. It wasn’t an I thing. He went out and played for Marshall. There’s a lot more for the Herd coming, I promise.”
That is a scary notion to ponder when considering Brady’s potential for 2017. As of now, Brady is on pace to finish the 12-game regular season with 1,812 receiving yards, and he could have more games to play after that. The Marshall record for receiving yards in a single season is 1,757, set by Mike Barber in 1987.
“I wasn’t really paying attention to the stats,” Brady said. “I was just trying to help my teammates any way I could.”