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Marshall Spring Practice Under Way

By Staff | Apr 8, 2008

Stan Hill, Graham Gochneaur, Jimmy Skinner, Bernard Morris and BrianAnderson. Those are the names of the quarterbacks who have started a game for Marshall since the Thundering Herd last won a conference championship. The days of Byron Leftwich and Chad Pennington are long gone in Huntington, but fourth year head coach Mark Snyder has something at his disposal that he had yet to have during his tenure at Marshall. Depth.

Marshall’s new found depth will be on full display during spring practice. Perhaps the most intriguing position battle will be for quarterback. Five players will get reps under center this spring:

? Georgia Tech transfer Jonathan Garner. Garner was Reggie Ball’s backup at GT and will be a junior this fall.

? Freshman Mark Cann. The South Carolina native was the Herd’s third-string quarterback last fall, however he saw no action in a red-shirt year.

? Freshman Chris Smith. The highly touted recruit from South Point, Ohio, red-shirted last fall.

? Sophomore Brian Anderson. Started the debacle against New Hampshire and did poorly, prompting Snyder to bring in an injured Bernard Morris instead.

? Junior Wes Beardain. Probably has the least chance of winning the job, Beardain will probably be the odd-man out when it’s all said and done.

The rumor around town is that freshman running back Darius Marshall (you may remember him as the guy who almost took the opening kick of last year’s WVU/Marshall game back for a touchdown) has been a beast in the weight room during the off-season. Marshall is just one of a stable of Thundering Herd tailbacks that could see action this fall.

Senior Chubb Small should get his share of the carries and red-shirt freshman Terrell Edwards is also in the mix. Small and Marshall shared time in the MU backfield last season.

This could prove to be a pivotal season for head coach Mark Snyder. Things have not gone well in Snyder’s first three years on the sidelines in Huntington. Snyder has yet to have a winning season at Marshall, and last fall the Herd started the season 0-7 before winning three of its last five games to finish with a miserable overall record of 3-9 (3-5 in Conference USA). Snyder’s 12-24 record with the Herd speaks for itself. If Marshall has another sub-par season, Snyder could start to feel the heat. It will certainly be interesting to see what Marshall does this season. Snyder has the tools to be successful for the first time since he came to Huntington, but there are a lot of question marks entering spring practice.

One thing is for certain though. The Thundering Herd will be hard-pressed to be as bad as it was last season.


Contact Tom at tbragg@graffitiwv.com