Herd set for scrimmage Saturday

August 19, 2018

HUNTINGTON - Marshall University’s preseason football camp draws to a close Saturday with an intrasquad scrimmage in Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

The evening scrimmage is closed to the general public, but open to Big Green Scholarship Foundation members, football season ticket holders and Marshall students with a valid ID. Coaches will get off the field and let the team play to see how well players have retained what they learned in practices and meetings in the past two weeks since camp opened.

Rain is in the forecast and if forced into the Chris Cline Indoor Athletic Complex practice will be closed.

Head coach Doc Holliday said Saturday’s session will take on a game-like feel.

“We’re bringing in C-USA (Conference USA) officials on Saturday, as well, so it will be just like a game,” Holliday said.

Attention is still on the quarterback battle, which was slowed because of graduate transfer Alex Thomson’s injury status. Thomson has been limited in camp in what Holliday said was a cautious’ process as he works his way back from a shoulder injury that ended his 2017 season at Wagner College just two games in.

Freshman Isaiah Green and Garet Morrell, a sophomore, have taken the majority of the snaps with the first two units during camp, and the same is expected Saturday.

Holliday said Thomson is close to being back to full-go in practice, but given that he has not taken part in team repetitions throughout the week it is not expected that he will do so Saturday. Marshall’s prime position battle will likely extend into game preparation weeks that begin Monday.

In terms of other positions to be viewed, Marshall has 18 starters returning from last year’s team, so there aren’t an abundance of spots open for grabs.

Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller said earlier in camp that each year takes on its own identity, so every position will be evaluated.

With two new coordinators in the mix (Fuller and offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey), Saturday’s scrimmage gives the staff a chance to compare what combinations work best in game situations. At positions such as defensive tackle, linebacker and wide receiver the coaches will get a chance to work with different looks to see what gives the Thundering Herd its best 11 on the field at one time.

Certain positions, however, are still looking to fill their starting lineups. Marshall lose defensive ends Blake Keller and Davon Durant from last season, but junior Marquis Couch returns with starting experience from 2017. The performances of freshman newcomers Koby Cumberlander and Darius Hodge will go a long way toward determining what look the defensive front will have.

Junior Ty Tyler has experience playing defensive end and defensive tackle and could stay primarily inside if a newcomer performs well.

The wide receiver and cornerback positions will also be looked at in one-on-one situations Saturday, which could make for a spirited battle.

Wide receivers Artie Henry (junior) and freshman Naquan Renalds and Talik Keaton are looking to move into the depth chart at an already-deep position. Cornerbacks such as senior Kereon Merrell, freshman Nirion Washington, freshman Stephon Gilmore and freshman Marquis Colvin are looking to make their name.

Following the scrimmage, Marshall players will have Saturday off. However, the coaches will spend much of the day going over video and assessing players in an attempt to set a depth chart for Monday when game preparation for the Sept. 1 opener against Miami (Ohio) begins.

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