— By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Although Marshall’s season opener against VMI is more than a week away, the Herd has ended the fall camp portion of preseason drills and is in game preparation mode.
Marshall wrapped up camp on Saturday with a scrimmage in which coaches stayed off of the field and let players handle simulated game situations.
Conference USA officials were brought in to work the scrimmage, as well as prepare Marshall for any new game management and rule issues.
A few highlight plays from Saturday included two touchdown throws from senior backup quarterback Alex Thomson to freshman wide receiver Broc Thompson and a 20-yard toss from starter Isaiah Green to tight end Isaiah Gaines, a former QB.
Starting running backs Brenden Knox and Tyler King saw limited playing time in the scrimmage. That gave freshmen Lawrence Papillon and Knowledge McDaniel a chance to showcase their talents.
Among the defenders catching the eye of defensive coordinator Brad Lambert and his staff were Charlotte graduate transfer Quinton Jordan, who played for Lambert last season. Freshman linebacker J’Coryan Anderson out of Knoxville, Tennessse, intercepted a pass from fellow freshman Grant Wells, who played his high school ball at nearby George Washington.
Tenth-year Marshall head coach Doc Holliday was pleased with the work to end fall camp.
“We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish,” Holliday said. “Our two-minute drill went for about 37 plays, so that was good. It was officiated and we worked the clock and timeouts the way they are supposed to be work. The fundamentals of it were good.”
— — —
USA Today released a Group of 5 preseason Top 10 late last week. Despite the fact that Marshall has been picked to win Conference USA’s East Division, the Herd received no votes in the poll.
The only Conference USA teams to receive recognition in the poll were North Texas, ranked No. 10, and UAB, which received votes.
Central Florida, coming off a 12-1 season and having won 25 of its last 26 games, was the No. 1 selection in the preseason poll, followed by Army.
Three Marshall opponents — Boise State, Ohio and Cincinnati — are ranked in the Top 10. The Broncos, who host the Herd on September 6, are No. 3. The Bearcats and Bobcats, who both come to Huntington this season were ranked sixth and seventh, respectively.
The Bobcats take on Marshall at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in the “Battle for the Bell” on September 14 and the Bearcats meet the Herd on September 28.
— — —
Marshall’s football team continued a long tradition on Sunday morning as players, coaches and team staff traveled to Ironton, Ohio to attend worship services at Sharon Baptist Church.
Sharon Baptist’s minister is Marshall’s long-time team chaplain, Reverend Steve Harvey, and the church and its members always make the Green and White welcome.
After worship, church members and Harvey treated their Marshall visitors to a picnic lunch.