Cramsey pleased with offense after win
HUNTINGTON - Things couldn’t have gone much better for Marshall offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey in his debut with the Thundering Herd during Saturday’s 35-28 win over Miami (Ohio).
Marshall faced some potential roadblocks going into Yager Stadium in Oxford, Ohio.
The team was on the road.
The team was ushering in a new quarterback.
And the team was making its first game appearance in a new system under Cramsey.
There were plenty of stumbling blocks to be had, but Marshall navigated its way through all of them, amassing 443 yards and averaging nearly six yards per play en route to the victory.
“It was a huge team win (Saturday) night and we’re going home happy,” Cramsey said.
Home for the Herd is Joan C. Edwards Stadium where Marshall will host FCS-member Eastern Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday in the 2018 home-opener.
Following the game, Cramsey spoke about what led him to tab redshirt freshman quarterback Isaiah Green over graduate transfer Alex Thomson in the Herd’s hotly-contested quarterback battle.
“I felt good about what he was going to do when lights go on,” Cramsey said. “He just has that type of personality - very calm, very cool. I said a couple times, when he gets out of the pocket, take a deep breath because something good is about to happen. The game is slow for him. He did a good job (Saturday) - did what quarterbacks have to do - and he got a win.”
The kickoff was not supposed to come with the lights on, but a lengthy weather delay stalled Green’s debut from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Once the game started, however, the Herd offense was certainly not stalled, scoring on its first two drives to open a 14-0 lead and force the RedHawks to play catch-up. Marshall only went to third down once on the first two drives as the team established the rushing attack which, in turn, opened up the passing attack for Green and wide receiver Tyre Brady.
“We had to jump on them,” Cramsey said. “I want to say we scored on the first two drives and then, we had a couple of penalties the first half. The drives where we didn’t hurt ourselves on penalties, we scored touchdowns on them.”
Marshall center Levi Brown echoed Cramsey’s sentiment, lauding the overall execution of the offense in the win, saying the only thing stopping the Herd against the RedHawks was themselves.
“Every time we didn’t score - the first three times - it was holding calls by me, (Alex) Mollette and (Jordan) Dowrey...,” Brown said. “We left three scores out there. That’s something we need to get fixed.”
Still, it was a successful day for a Marshall offense that had waited through six months to see exactly what Cramsey’s offense would produce in game-type situations.
Whether it was a four-wide spread look or a full-house backfield with three running backs, Cramsey’s offense efficiently produced and kept the RedHawks on their heels for much of the game.
More importantly, Marshall was able to accomplish two things that were goals: the Herd was able to play fast while not playing too quick, which could’ve led to mistakes. Because of that execution, the Herd owned an advantage in time of possession while dominating to a 2-to-1 clip in the opening quarter on the road.
Cramsey said that the play of Green boosted that performance.
In relation to the redshirt freshman quarterback, there are two people who won’t make the ‘youth’ excuse: Green and Cramsey.
“I know a lot of people think that because I’m a freshman that I’ll get kind of rattled, but that’s just never been me,” Green said. “I’ve been through a lot in my life and I’m used to adversity and having to overcome things. It’s just easy to me.”
Cramsey agreed, citing poise as Green’s best quality in Saturday’s win.
“I don’t look at him as a freshman,” Cramsey said. “We’ve been together for (34) practices or whatever it is since spring and fall and summer, and he did what I - we - expected him to do tonight....
“I want to say that we have 34 practices together and he’s 33 out of 34 in what he does. His best practices were the scrimmages. He had a red shirt on and those weren’t true live, but the intensity is different and those were the best practices he’s had.”
While Cramsey was pleased with the Herd’s effort on Saturday, he wants the offense to become sharper as it prepares to take on the Colonels on Saturday.
Eastern Kentucky allowed 5.0 yards per play in a 49-23 win over Morehead State in their opener.