HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—It is only mid-April but Marshall’s offense operated as if it was mid-October in the team’s first scrimmage of spring workouts. The Herd’s offense ran 96 plays in the ninth spring practice and looked like an a unit led by Conference USA’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year.
Quarterback Rakeem Cato threw for 324 yards, two touchdowns and ran for another.
“That’s a good thing for the offense, but as a head coach – it upsets you for your defense,” said coach Doc Holliday. “But you know what, he’s really good. There’s a reason he is among the top players returning in the nation, he’s accurate, he likes to compete.”
The offense racked up nearly 550 yards on the afternoon, averaging 5.7 yards per play. The rushing attack gained 104 yards on 40 carries. Remi Watson was the leading rusher with 23 yards on seven rushes.
While the offense looked impressive it did have a decided advantage over the defense. Defensive Coordinator Chuck Heater didn’t have some of his starters that will be there this fall. Evan McKelvey didn’t play. James Rouse was out. Darryl Roberts and Neville Hewitt were sidelined for the scrimmage. Heater also stuck with a basic look and didn’t blitz as he tried to set a base package for the defense.
“Yeah, Chuck is looking at a couple of things, Chuck and the staff visited some other places and are taking a look at things,” Holliday said. “Anytime No. 12 is in there, he can make a lot of people look bad.”
“The defense made some plays. They will get better, I don’t worry about Chuck, we’ve got a lot of guys back. The young guys (at quarterback), they have to learn to count 7 in the box, to get better at doing some things that seem like pretty simple things to us as coaches, but young guys out there, they just have to learn to make some adjustments on runs, passes, but they will be fine.”
The Herd will be back to work with practice on Tuesday and Thursday and will scrimmage again Friday afternoon.