Thomson’s injury throws Herd’s QB race off course

August 12, 2018

Marshall quarterbacks Garet Morrell, left, and Isaiah Green work through a drill as Herd football conducts its first practice of the season Aug. 3 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON — When Marshall University opened its preseason football camp, head coach Doc Holliday said he wanted to get his quarterback battle moving quickly so the Thundering Herd could move toward its Sept. 1 season opener at Miami (Ohio).

It turns out the quarterback battle has hit a temporary roadblock, however.

Graduate transfer Alex Thomson was limited this week in practice in what Holliday described earlier this week as a cautious approach to his return from a shoulder injury that ended his 2017 season at Wagner College just two games in.

Despite Thomson’s limitations, Holliday’s plan is still to decide on a quarterback sooner than later, so the team can move forward as camp closes next week.

“We got set back a little bit there, but we’ll be fine,” Holliday said. “He’s going to be back out there soon enough and we’ll see where it goes.”

With Thomson temporarily sidelined, freshman Isaiah Green and sophomore Garet Morrell have

taken the bulk of the repetitions. Both have left a mark on offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey.

On Friday, Green showed his playmaking ability when he rolled out to his right during live-period action and kept a play alive before lofting a touch pass to the back corner of the end zone to Tyre Brady, who had completed his route but worked toward the ball after he recognized Green was on the move.

It was a heady play by Brady, and the throw showed Green’s precision and accuracy while outside of the comfort zone of the pocket.

Not to be outdone, Morrell also connected on a touch pass that went for big yards when he lofted a ball over a defender and into the outstretched arms of tight end Armani Levias.

“I really like the way Isaiah is playing. He’s learning every day and he took practice No. 1 as practice No. 16, carried over from spring,” Cramsey said. “The mistakes he made in spring, he’s cut down on and every rep he gets, he gets better at leading the offense. You see Isaiah and Garet feeling more comfortable in the offense every single day. They’ve been running it now for (23) practices, so it’s not a new offense for them anymore.”

Saturday’s practice featured more live-ball situations and a scrimmage-type feel with live tackling to see how players responded with the coaches off the field and the heat of battle being on them.

Unlike Green and Morrell, Thomson did not have the benefit of spring football, meaning each practice missed is a huge chance for him to refine himself on the field within the offense.

Despite Thomson’s absence and lack of on-field practice time, Holliday and Cramsey both said they aren’t ready to anoint anyone as the starter for the Miami (Ohio) contest, which opens the 2018 season at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at Yager Stadium.

“You go every single day and we’ll make a decision when the time is right,” said Cramsey, who is also the team’s quarterbacks coach.

Holliday said the good news is none of the three quarterbacks has looked overwhelmed by what’s being thrown at them.

“Isaiah had a tremendous spring and has carried that over,” Holliday said. “What I saw of Alex I like a lot, so I think we’re in good shape. We’ll just get Alex back out here as soon he can. He’ll be out here soon and we’ll move forward.”

Marshall is off Sunday, but will resume practice Monday afternoon. It will begin the last week of camp before the Herd transitions into game preparation for the RedHawks.

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