Monday, August 16, 2010
Conference USA 2010-Marshall Thundering Herd
2009 Record: 7-6 (4-4)
Head Coach: Doc Holliday (1st season, 0-0)
Offensive Coordinator: Tony Peterson (1st season) and Bill Legg (1st season)
Defensive Coordinator: Chris Rippon (1st season)
2009 Bowl Game: Pizza Bowl, defeated Ohio U. 21-17
Offense: There will be plenty of changes at Marshall, as Holliday is going to open up the passing game. Brian Anderson is the returnee at QB, but he is being pushed by AJ Graham, Florida's Mr. Football 2008. Willy Korn also joins the fight after transferring from Clemson. Korn was supposed to be the guy at Clemson, but he could never shake injury issues. Antavious Wilson is back at WR, and he has huge big play potenital, as does Aaron Dobson, who averaged 24 yards every time he touched the ball in 2009. Courtney Edmonson is back as well as Chuck Walker to give the Herd a decent group of guys for the QB to go to. TE Lee Smith is also a solid reciever, and could be an NFL prospect. Martin Ward and Andre Booker will share the TB duties. The right side of the line must be replaced.
Defense: This group is actually solid against the rush, but must get better against the pass. Rippon will run a standard 4-3 defense, rather than the 3-3-5 that Holliday was used to seeing at WVU. The group is led by Mario Harvey, the OLB who had 117 tackles in 2009. Kellen Harris starts in the middle and had 71 tackles last season. DT Michael Janac returns at DT after posting 21 starts the last two season. Vinny Clark will line up next to Janac, and he registered 59 tackles long with 8.5 TFLs in 2009. CB DeQuan Bembry was supposed to start at CB, but was suspended in the spring, and there is no set date for a return. Ahmed Shakoor will be the other starter at CB returning, with Bembry's spot up for grabs. Omar Brown is a monster at FS, having registered 73 tackles and 10 pass breakups last season. The CB spot is an issue, as Marshall only ranked 90th against the pass last season.
Special Teams: Tyler Warner is lined up to be the new PK, and has huge shoes to fill, as Criag Ratanamorn was a Groza semi-finalist in 2009. Kase Whitehead will be a third year starter at punter, but he was killed by poor kick coverage last year.
Wins: 9/18 @ Bowling Green, 9/25 Ohio, 10/23 East Carolina, 11/6 @ Uab, 11/13 Memphis, 11/27 Tulane
Toss Up Games: 10/30 UTEP
Losses: 9/2 @ Ohio State, 9/10 West Virginia, 10/2 @ Southern Mississippi, 10/13 Central Florida, 11/20 @ SMU
The schedule is very difficult in September with games against Ohio State and West Vriginia. 7 wins are very realistic, but a steal or two from the loss box could be possible. I see bowl potential.
Outlook: I don't think that it will be long before Holliday has Marshall back to the glory days. This is a perfect opportunity at a place with tremendous tradition to turn around a middling ship. I don't know if Mark Snyder was ever the right fit as coach, as even as an alumnus, he never really seemed to have the energy to get this thing going. I like the future of this football team.