December 26, 2009 by USA Post
Marshall University:No.1 Considering distractions including Mark Snyder’s resignation as head coach and John “Doc” Holliday’s hiring as head coach, has Marshall University‘s football team maintained focus leading to its bowl game?
Interim Thundering Herd head coach Rick Minter has conducted spirited practices this month, while Holliday has focused on recruiting and coaching hires. Minter, a former head coach at the University of Cincinnati, has provided needed stability.
“Hopefully veteran coaches know how to prepare teams for bowl games and that’s what we’ve done,” Minter said. “We’ve committed to the things that need to get done. Our kids will be well-conditioned well-prepared and we’ll see what happens.”
Marshall‘s first bowl game appearance since 2004 provides an extra month of needed practice. Players clearly have appreciated the luxury of added on-field time missing during recent seasons.
“It’s a nice lead-in to spring football, especially for the young guys to continue learning and continue to learn this new level of football,” Marshall junior quarterback Brian Anderson said. “I definitely think it’s going to show next season.”
Marshall has enjoyed strong fan base following at former Detroit-based bowls. More than 10,000 Thundering Herd supporters attended previous Little Caesars Pizza Bowls, then known as the Motor City Bowl. Ohio University, however, well could outnumber Marshall in terms of fans.
“Detroit was a great host for the Mid-American Conference Championship (a loss to Temple) and we’re looking forward to going back there,” Ohio linebacker Lee Renfro said. “We had a great crowd show up and it can get loud in there (Ford Field) with a lot of Bobcat fans.”
Ohio’s option offense presents a challenge unique among Marshall opponents this season. Will the Thundering Herd tweak its defense in preparation for an offense featuring numerous running back threats and a dual-threat quarterback?
“I don’t think coach Minter is going to change anything,” Marshall senior defensive end and team captain Albert McClellan said. “We’re going to give them a dose of everything.”
What of the added flavoring of facing Ohio, a former Mid-American Conference and “Battle for the Bell” rival? Marshall and Ohio kick off a home-and-away non-conference series next season on Sept. 25.
“This is a good football team,” Thundering Herd junior tight end Lee Smith said. “We’re fine. Our focus is on Ohio, and we’re going to make sure we can do everything we can to win this football game. They’re talented. They won nine games for a reason. The thing about Ohio is they just won’t beat themselves. If our offense goes out there and beats them in the mouth a little, it will be fine.”
– Anthony Hanshew
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