HUNTINGTON, W.Va.— It wasn’t a full blown scrimmage Saturday morning at Joan C. Edwards Stadium Marshall did go through a live scrimmage-like situation, even if it was just for 48 plays at the end of the sixth spring practice.
“I thought they had great energy. I thought they executed for the most part pretty well. That’s the first time we’ve scrimmaged live for 48 plays,” said a content Doc Holliday afterward.
The small sample gave the coaching a staff a barometer to see how the team has progressed throughout the first two weeks of workouts. To no one’s surprise quarterback Rakeem Cato was sharp completing 7-of-8 pass attempts including a 20 yard touchdown pass to tight end Devon Johnson.
In fact, the tight ends were Cato’s favorite target during the first live action of the spring. Eric Frohnapfel made a nifty catch over defensive backs Michael Johnson and Tiquan Lang. He then held on to a 16-yard catch after taking a big lick from safety A.J. Leggett. Devon Johnson hauled in the 20-yard touchdown catch as well as another 18-yard reception. Newcomer Deon-Tay McManus made several catches over the middle, catching the eyes of the coaching staff.
“I like what I saw out of him,” Holliday simply said.
The Herd’s backup quarterback battle appeared to clear up a bit as well on Saturday, although Holliday insists there is still a long way to go. Redshirt Sophomore Gunnar Holcombe took the snaps with the second stringers and freshman Cole Garvin ran the majority of plays with the third team. That left few reps for redshirt-freshman Kevin Anderson.
“You’d like to see one of those three guys separate themselves and it hasn’t happened yet,” assessed Holliday.
Holcombe, as expected, has the early advantage for the No. 2 quarterback spot. After all, he has been in the offense longer and has a better understanding of the defense. More surprisingly, is how quickly Garvin has picked up on the system and has put himself in the mix. Garvin completed two passes during the scrimmage, including a 20-yard strike to Deandre Reaves.
Holliday still wants to see more from his young quarterbacks.
“The thing we’ve got to do as we go along is put those guys in some more scrimmage situations where we let them go out there and run the team without Coach Legg coaching them up every play.”
The Herd will hold a formal scrimmage next Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.