HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—The Herd’s defense felt like it had something to prove after the offense torched it for 550 yards and Rakeem Cato carved it up for 340 yards in the spring’s second scrimmage. The advantage was on the defensive side of the ball Friday afternoon as defensive coordinator Chuck Heater pressured the offense with blitz packages and disguised coverages.
The defense collected 11 sacks and two interceptions on the day despite key players such as Neville Hewitt, James Rouse and several others did not participate in the scrimmage.
“They got a little bit upset because of what happened last week,” Holliday said about the defense. “That’s normally what happens in spring. The offense will have a pretty good scrimmage the previous week and then the defensive coaches get on those guys and add some things so it doesn’t happen two weeks in a row.”
The offense still rolled up 580 yards on 109 plays even with the defense ratcheting up the pressure from a week ago. Rakeem Cato completed 11-of-20 pass attempts for 158 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown pass to Davonte Allen. Cato only ran 27 plays before he discarded his shoulder pads and watched the rest of the scrimmage. Marshall’s four quarterbacks combined for 429 yards and five touchdowns.
“I continue to see guys we challenged make plays,” said Holliday. “We played a lot of guys today. Anytime you add a bunch of young guys in there’s going to be some sloppiness.”
The offensive line struggled at times during the 12th spring session but Holliday was quick to note much of the afternoon did not feature the starting unit. Freshman Sandley Jean-Felix saw significant action at right tackle in place of Clint Van Horn. Chris Huhn and Cody Collins spent considerable time working with the first unit.
“I don’t care about how man sacks we gave up there,” said Mirabal. “You got a lot of kids playing there that won’t be playing during the 2014 season but still need seasoning. So if it were the starters that were out there I’d be worried but I’m not worried at all.”
While the offensive line had some issues with its pass protection, the running backs had rooom to roam. Stewart Butler led the offense with 11 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown. Kevin Grooms was limited to a pair of touches for 39 yards but Holliday liked what he saw.
“Grooms is starting to look like the old Grooms,” complimented Holliday.
The offense tallied 151 yards on the ground on 52 carries.
Marshall will practice again Tuesday and Thursday next week before concluding spring practice with the annual Green/White game on Saturday afternoon at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Team Rushing: 52-151 (2.9/carry)
Team Passing: 22-57-429, 5 TDs, 2 INTs
Total Offense: 109 plays, 580 yards (5.32/play)
Butler: 11-60, TD
Cato: 11-20-158, TD
Holcombe: 6-18-115, TD, 2 INTs
Garvin: 3-13-121, TD
Anderson: 2-6-35, 2 TD
Jean-Louis: 3-91, 2 TDs
Allen: 3-73, TD
Frohnapfel: 2-36, TD
D. Johnson: 2-33
McManus: 1-9, TD
Houston: 8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
Tindal: 7 tackles, 1 PBU
C. Carter: 7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
Lang: 6 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PBU
Waiters: 5 tackles, 1 PBU
Letman: 5 tackles, 1 PBU
Hunter: 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU
Holmes: 5 tackles
Daniel: 3 tackles, 3 TFLs, 3 sacks
Brown: 3 tackles, 2 TFLs, 2 sacks
Wilson: 3 tackles
Strong: 3 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
Blackmon: 3 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
Massaquoi: 3 tackles
Leggett: 3 tackles
Shaver: 2 tackles, 1 INT
Manning: 2 tackles
Thompson: 2 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
Samuel: 2 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
Camacho: 1 tackle
Dillon: 1 tackle
R. Williams: 1 tackles, 1 TFL