Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Marshall Thundering Herd 2010 Review
2010 Record: 5-7 (4-4), 4th conference USA East
2010 Bowl Game: None
2010 Schedule/Results: @ Ohio State, L 45-7; West Virginia, L 24-21; @ Bowling Green, L 44-28; Ohio, W 24-23; @ Southern Miss, L 41-16; UCF, L 35-14; @ East Carolina, L 37-10; UTEP, W 16-12; @ UAB, W 31-17; Memphis, W 28-13; @ SMU, L 31-17; Tulane, W 38-23
2010 was a bit of a mess for the Herd, and Mark Snyder punched out before the ship imploded beneath him, but then again, he was likely to be fired anyway. When the season had ended, and the smoke had cleared, Marshall defeated one team with a winning record all season, and that came in a one point victory over Ohio after an 0-3 start. That's a bad sign. Also consider that the Herd had West Virginia down and beaten, and they let them Mountaineers rage back in the 4th quarter for what essentially was the tone for the rest of the 2010 season. Not good enough. Not good enough.
Marshall struggled on offense all season long, and only managed a paltry 97.2 yards per game rushing, which was one of the worst totals in the country. They passed for 217 yards per game, but with no running game to back it up, it was meaningless. Brian Anderson was nothing short of erratic in his senior season, completing only 56.8% of his passes, and tossing 15 picks. He managed to throw for 2358 yards and 20 TDs, but the other numbers are just glaring. Too much pressure was placed on him to get it done, and it showed. Eddie Sullivan and AJ Graham, both freshmen, will be competing to take over, with Graham being my favorite by far. Sullivan was awful in his few appearances.
Marshall's run game, as I am harping on, was abysmal. Non-existent. Pure shit. Martin Ward LED the team. Led the team with a whoppless 345 yards. The team ran for a grand total of 7 TDs in 2010. That's the whole team that we're talking about. Does it get much worse? Only Troy Evans rushed for 2 TDs, and he rushed for 38 yards all season long. Terrible.
When you look for a great receiver, you look for that swagger, the guy that steps up and says that "I want the fucking ball!". Marshall has a guy who may develop into that role under Doc Holliday, Marshall's new coach. Aaron Dobson led the Herd in 210 as a sophomore. Dobson put together a line of 44-689-5. If it doesn't seem like a big deal, he averaged 15.66 yards every time that he touched the rock. That's what you want in your primary receiver, and he looks to get better in the new scheme, barring that the Herd can find a quality QB, something that they have not had since the days of Byron Leftwich and Chad Pennington. What the Herd needs now is to find a quality 2 and 3 guy that can come in and compliment Dobson, but those guys have not yet been identified.
The Herd had their issues on defense at times, but they weren't all bad all of the time. They had an especially nice streak near the end of the season when they gave up less than 20 points for three straight weeks in games against UTEP, UAB, and Memphis. Not great competition in those weeks, but they proved that they could play shutdown D when they had to. The potential is there.
One thing that I can tell you is that Marshall will miss LB Mario Harvey in 2011, as the senior was a madman in 2010. Harvey collected 142 total tackles on the season, or an average of 11.83 per game. He was on or around almost every play of the game, showing tremendous heart and range. I'd take a motor like that on my team to play on Sundays. Vinny Curry, an All-Bilo guy on the D line, cruised with 94 tackles on the year, a mountain of a number for any lineman. Omar Brown and Donald Brown were both highly productive as well, with 88 and 75 tackles respectively, and both return in 2011.
Curry and Harvey had an appetite for destruction in 2010 beyond the line of scrimmage, as they combined for an incredible 34.5 TFLs. Amazing numbers. Curry, the leader, collected 18.5, while Harvey was a line buster in his own right with another 16. Nobody else came close to these two, as the nearest was Donald Brown with 5.5 as a blitzing DB. Curry crushed opposing QBs to the tune of 12 sacks, while Harvey followed him with 7.5. Marshall outsacked opponents to the score of 28-13 in 2010.
The secondary had some struggles, as they gave up 240.8 yards passing per game, when Curry wasn't crushing the opposing QBs. Harvey (how did we know his name would pop again?) finished tied with the team lead with 7 passes defended with junior Rashad Jackson, while Omar Brown and freshman Monterius Lovett each had 5. Jackson and the Brown boys shared the team pick lead with 3 each, with Jackson having taken one back to score.
Tyler Warner was very much under utilized in 2010, having only attempted 8 FGs on the entire season. He hit on 5 of them, so his success rate was not sterling. He'll be back as a senior to hopefully increase his workload and his successes. He hit 31 of 32 PATs, but again, that's a rather low number. It explains why Marshall was held to 21 points or fewer 7 times.Kase Whitehead was solid, but not incredible. He did manage to hit at 40.12 yards per punt, which barely squeaks out a passing grade in my book, but then again, I am a bastard about giving out easy grades.
First of all, lighten up the schedule a bit. Marshall played Ohio State, West Virginia, Ohio, and the toughest teams in the conference. That's tough for a team that just wasn't up for it. Second, learn how to run the football. It would really help. Third, give it some time for Doc Holliday to get the engine humming. He is the right guy for this job, and with any luck, and some solid recruiting, Holliday could get this team back to where they were when they first busted onto the scene after years as a 1-AA super power. There is potential here, but just give it time and keep expectations tempered for a little while. Marshall may have to step back to step forward.