Inside Marshall Sports

About Deyonte Henderson

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… Today’s latest commitment … Looks like he has been targeting the Herd for some time, really enjoyed his Jan. 13 visit. … An evaluation pick at inside linebacker, looking at who else reportedly was going after. … If he comes in with a chip on his shoulder and  can be coached, you never know …

20 1/2 hours until the faxes hum …

About Chris Hall

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The latest Herd commitment …

Signed at Virginia Tech in 2011 and would have qualified, but stumbled academically in the spring and went to Fork Union. He was ranked 18th in the state by the Roanoke Times.

Waiting to determine if he took the field for Fork Union. A knee injury got in the way, possibly something that cropped up in the summer. He has had the knee scoped and is reportedly back at 100 percent.

Signing day is hours away …

Postmortem begins …

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First, I must say: I still hate the 3-point goal. Perhaps the Marshall basketball team should learn to hate it, too.

Tonight and/or Friday night, you can expect another examination of the Thundering Herd’s offensive woes, which is becoming the overwhelming story on this team. Remember all the times coach Herrion said, “Offense comes easy with this bunch”? It’s not coming easy.

And the timing is wretched. Marshall’s upcoming schedule is @Memphis, Tulane, @Tulsa, @UCF. That 4-0 Conference USA start could easily turn into 5-5, if this team can’t put something in the basket.

As an aside: Mitch Vingle suffered technical difficulties (RIP laptop), and lost his column on deadline. I would expect something out of him tonight.

Throwdown: UAB game

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First, Jerry Palm is out with his brackets, and he still has Marshall in the field. That’s the good news.

The bad news: He puts forth the most agonizing scenario, placing the Herd a co-13 in a “first four” game against Texas.

Dayton, no problem. But if the Herd win in this hypothetical bracket, it would advance to play San Diego State. In freakin’ Portland. (Palm also has the Mountaineers and UCF going out to Portland as a 4th seed and 12th seeds, though in a different region. Remember the “pod” concept.) He still has C-USA getting 4 bids, with Southern Miss seeded 10th in Pittsburgh and Memphis 11th in Albuquerque.

5 good sites on the first weekend, and root for them: Pittsburgh, Columbus, Louisville, Greensboro and Nashville. Then there’s Omaha. And Albuquerque. And Portland.

But it’s too early, way too early. C-USA game No. 6 is tonight against UAB, and the over-under is about 120.

With conference-only stats starting to be relevant, a tale of the tape:
Scoring offense: Marshall 5th at 65.6, UAB dead last at 55.0. And just think: Jordan Swing is out.
Scoring defense: UAB 3rd at 58.0, Marshall 9th at 62.2. 10 teams under 65, if you’re wondering.
FG% offense: 8th and 9th, 41.4 and 41.0
3 FG% offense: UAB best at .392, Marshall 6th at .341
Defense vs. FG: UAB 5th and 6th at .420, .430
Defense vs. 3 FG: Marshall rules this category at .260, UAB 10th at .370 (Warm it up, Dago.)

And the board numbers:
Rebounding margin: Marshall 1st at plus-12.2 (wow), UAB 7th at minus-1.6
Offensive rebounds: Marshall 1st at  16.8, UAB 4th at 10.0
And my new favorite stat, offensive rebounding percentage (your off rebs vs. their def rebs): Marshall 1st at .426, UAB 3rd at .313.

That’s not a typo: That’s how badly Marshall pounds you on the boards.

Free-throw shooting: Marshall .590. That’s last, of course. Ugh.

Back to 3-point shooting, here’s another good stat: UAB does its damage taking about 15 of them a game. Marshall is taking 17 a game (again, conference-only stat). Reverse that order tonight and I think you will like the result…

 

Game-day throwdown

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Vinny Curry is in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, 4 p.m. Saturday on the NFL Network. He is on the North roster, working under head coach Leslie Frazier and defensive line coach Brendan Daly (both Vikings).

The Huntsville Times did a story on him Tuesday morning, zeroing in on his mother’s death and his all-world performance in the Rice game.

Today’s New York Times blog chimes in … “Vinny Curry showed enough of a burst to beat his opponent off the edge, but his body lean often takes him to the ground rather than allowing him to turn the corner. He was able to get up field well in his run fits at times in team drills, however.”

That reminds me … one of my more loyal Tweetybird followers was aghast at a scouting report he saw on Curry and wondered, “Are they watching the same person we were?” This is not surprising. The National Football League is a tough, tough business and coaches and scouts will pick you apart. You cannot hide a weakness, no matter how small.

As I told my follower, Toto, we’re not in Conference USA anymore.

I saw this Bolt Beat story a couple of days ago, but I will post it here. One caveat: Don’t even try to predict which team will draft you if you last past, say, the middle of the first round. Teams don’t even have to interview you to know you exist. … The best thing a prospect can do that weekend is go fishing, golfing, etc., and not even watch.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com weighs in on the weigh-in: “With some prospects impressing with their athletic frames, there will naturally be some disappointments. It is worth repeating that the NFL is full of prospects who appeared too small, too heavy or too thin in shorts only to prove Pro-Bowlers on the field. Still, the relatively soft builds for Washington running back Chris PolkAlabama centerWilliam VlachosBoise State defensive lineman Billy Winn and Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry were a bit surprising.

From SI.com’s Tony Pauline on Tuesday: – “G Kelechi Osemele of Iowa State has had a solid morning. He uses his wide body to seal defenders from the action and was able to overwhelm the smaller Vinny Curry.”

But … this was quoted on an LSU message board, of all places: “Marshall defensive lineman Vinny Curry, 6-4, 263, flashed quickness when he shot across the line of scrimmage and forced a fumble.”

From Pauline’s blog Monday: “Senio Kelemete (G/Washington) has been incredibly athletic on the field and has stopped several top-rated pass rushers — including Jack Crawford of Penn State — dead in their tracks. In the full scrimmage Kelemete annihilated Vinny Curry on one play.”

I was directed to this Pro Football Weekly scouting report: “Solidly built, productive, pinned-ears right defensive end with a quick get-off who can shorten the corner and close once he gets a step — shows natural pass-rush ability. Strong wrap tackler. Emotional makeup — has a revved-up motor on the field and can overheat off the field if not handled properly.

“Tires quickly — is stronger and more explosive when battery is charged. Lacks elite flexibility and top-end speed, needs to develop his counter moves and will have to prove his mettle against more talented tackles. However, he has the tools to be an effective 4-3 edge rusher if paired with a patient, nurturing position coach.”

You get the picture. I’ll finish here with something called NFLmocks.com, which said: “Vinny Curry has been one of the more consistent pass rushers in College Football the past 2 years.  Many have written this off because of the competition he has faced.  When he played verse Mike Adams he had a multi sack game, though was destroyed in the run game.  If Curry can show consistent production this week, he could move into Round 1 for a team that displays both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses.”

Caution there. Only 32 go in Round 1. My hunch is Round 3, but I hardly consider myself an expert. One thing I know: Vinny will make the most of his opportunity …

My 2 cents on the Herd-UAB basketball game later today.

Monday morning throwdown

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First, condolences to the Penn State community on the death of Joe Paterno. I am reminded that Bear Bryant did not live long after his retirement, though he did not have a heartbreaking scandal swirling around him.

Back to Marshall matters … My column this morning critiques the recruiting class that just finished its work (with one exception), the class of 2007. I’m the only one to do this every year since 2002 and yes, it should be done. This class, and its development (or sometimes, the lack thereof), really shaped where the program is now.

Addendum note, Rivals listed 8 3-star athletes, including the great Jo Jo Cox. I left him out of my column, but I’m not exactly apologizing — he had about as much chance to play as I did.

Right this minute, Rivals lists 9 3-stars, including 4 offensive linemen (2 jucos) and one juco defensive tackle. It would be refreshing if they all panned out.

Speaking of panning out, that’s what the MU basketball team needs to do Wednesday night against UAB. The 2-game losing streak must be snapped before the Herd heads to Memphis on Saturday … and the Blazers (though still dangerous) have plummeted to 10th place.

UAB is 6-12, 1-4, and is coming off a real stinker against Central Florida, in which it suffered another late run by the opposition. I think the fans there are starting to call for Mike Davis’ head, and I can’t blame them a bit.

And if that isn’t enough, the Blazers may have lost Jordan Swing for weeks with a fracture in his hand. Marshall won the Jan. 11 game at Birmingham in no small party by holding Swing to 3-of-11 shooting. (DeAndre Kane’s 21/10 effort and Dennis Tinnon’s 19 rebounds didn’t hurt.)

The Conference USA race is very interesting. That one-loss crowd at the top should be broken up to some degree, and we’ll see if Tulsa can climb into the upper crust. Games this week among the top 5:

UCF — @Tulsa, Southern Miss
Marshall — UAB, @Memphis
Memphis — Rice, Marshall
Southern Miss — @East Carolina, @UCF

But the Herd’s task is to just win, baby … and play from ahead, for once. More on that trend at some point …

 

 

Addendum to Spillman-Bradshaw story

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Shout-out to Albert McClellan, backup LB for the Baltimore Ravens … left him out of my C.J. Spillman-Ahmad Bradshaw story, though the Ravens aren’t playing the 49ers or Giants (yet?). Liked Albert a lot during his MU years, and I see that he, like Spillman, is doing good work on special teams. Almost makes me root for the Ravens. 😉

Post-Cap Classic throwdown (updated)

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That wasn’t pretty, was it? Going to be tough for Herd fans to live with that one for 12 months …

That was WVU’s 3rd-largest margin of victory in the 40-game all-time series. Bigger victories were Jan. 16, 1929 (44-21) and Dec. 5, 1989 (74-56). A tad misleading, though — in January 1992, Dwight Freeman’s 7-win team fell behind 27 or thereabouts before “rallying” to lose 90-76.

One last tidbit here: WVU has become Marshall’s 17th-most played opponent. Wasn’t it yesterday that Stu Aberdeen coached against Joedy Gardner?

Herd opponents played more often, in alpha order: Appalachian State 49 (32-17), Bowling Green 54 (23-31), Morris Harvey/U. of Charleston 115 and holding (92-23), The Citadel 43 (33-10), East Tennessee State 46 (21-25), Furman 45  (26-19), Kent State  54 (26-28), Miami-Oh 75 (28-47), Morehead State 92 (49-43), Ohio 98 or so (46-52, 46-53, whatever), UT-Chattanooga 47 (19-28), Toledo 54 (21-33), VMI 48 (33-15), W.Va. Wesleyan 42 (29-13), Western Carolina 42 (29-13), Western Michigan 49 (30-19).

A Dr. Doom stat: By Marshall’s preseason count, it has lost 996 games all-time. Don’t get down: That is compared to 1,339 wins.

Onto Conference USA, where the other 11 teams are looking up to the Herd, at least after 4 games. It doesn’t get any easier, but don’t cancel those Memphis reservations. … The Herd will be locked into a Wednesday/Saturday routine through March 3, with one break between the Feb. 11 home game against East Carolina and a Feb. 18 trip to SMU. Good break for Valentine’s Day …

While the Herd kept from getting its knees skinned Wednesday night, Keith Clanton converted a 3-point play off a stickback with 3 seconds left to give Central Florida a 69-68 win over Memphis, thus handing the Tigers their first loss. Here is the call from Memphis, and from Orlando.

In that latter, columnist/radio gabber Mike Bianchi tweeted a self-righteous condemnation of UCF fans storming the court. If you follow me on the Tweetybird, you see my simple response.

Now, it’s on the game at Southern Miss, with an outrageous 15 RPI (as simulated by RealTimeRPI). From the Hattiesburg American, here is a recap of their last game, last Saturday, against UAB, and a look at what the Herd faces as it tries to reverse its first rebounding deficit.

Finally,  a quick look at Conference USA RPI, according to RealTime as a today (Thursday): Southern Miss 16, Memphis 31, Marshall 47, UCF 61, UTEP 134, Tulsa 141, UAB 146, Rice 177, SMU 188,  East Carolina 192, SMU 206, Tulane 234, Houston 245.

(These are updated. I forgot that RealTime tends to update later in the day.)

Tulane has lost Kendall Timmons for the season with an Achilles injury. The Green Wave will be hard-pressed to stay out of the C-USA basement.