Good evening, folks.
First, I’m going to issue a cautious seal of approval on the football signing class. I will want to see how it looks after the “props” and other issues get sorted out, but I like the way the coaching staff went after it.
If you have been around JuJuan Seider and Todd Hartley any amount of time, you know why they recruit so well. They are upbeat, energetic and engaging, yet straightforward. It’s good that Doc was able to hang onto them.
I like how aggressively the receiver position was addressed, for the most part. I think Doc wanted another juco guy, but he had the two seniors from Penn State in hand. He got a decent combination of size, speed, youth and experience there.
I would have liked another D-tackle and one fewer linebacker. After all these waves of LBs, the Herd eventually will be really good at the position, right? Right?
The running back out of East Bay High, Fla., Brandon Byrd, is intriguing. Doc says he has run a 10.6 100-meter and long-jumped 23 feet — if so, that scores at least 18 points in any West Virginia state track meet I’ve covered.
I want to meet Sandley Jean-Felix. … sounds like a freak of nature with a Creole accent. Doc said his hands are the biggest he has ever seen.
My big question for now: Is Michael Johnson a prop whom Florida State couldn’t take, or someone who simply wants to play all four years? There is something to be said for a kid who doesn’t want to wait until he’s a third-year sophomore to see the field on a Saturday.
Like all matters, we’ll see. …
Basketball … I’m dusting off the “Thundering ‘Possums” moniker because it fits. These guys keep getting killed on the road, and it’s tough to listen to.
One stat I’ll dredge up for now: 3-point field goal defense. Coach Herrion emphasizes it, I know for fact, but something isn’t sinking in. (Keep in mind, he has 2 juco starters who might figure out how to play something close to defense by next January.)
For these comparisons, I will stick to CONFERENCE PLAY, allowing for some consistency.
After 8 league games, Marshall is 11th in the category, allowing foes to shoot .394. That’s not good at all.
In Herrion’s first year, the Herd was the league’s stingiest at .290 — an outstanding number. That climbed to .309 in 2011-12, still 2nd in the league, and then up to the lousy mark we’re seeing now.
Another angle: In both 2010-11 and 2011-12, the Herd gave up 75 made 3-pointers in the 16 league games. In 8 games this year, it’s already up to 50, including the 11 Tulane rained down Wednesday night.
And in the first half, that was eight, in 16 attempts. You could hear it in Steve Cotton’s voice, the twinge of disbelief that the Green Wave was getting wide open for yet another 3.
Expanding to all games, here are the most 3-point bombs the Herd has given up in a half this season:
8 — first half at Southern Miss (13 attempts)
8 — first half at Tulane (16 attempts)
6 — second half vs. South Dakota State (12 attempts)
6 — first half at Ohio (13 attempts)
5 — second half vs. Cincinnati (6 attempts)
5 — first half at Memphis (7 attempts)
5 — second half vs. Morehead State (8 attempts)
5 — first half vs. UDC (8 attempts)
5 — first half vs. South Dakota State (9 attempts)
5 — second half vs. Delaware State (9 attempts)
5 — first half vs. Coppin State (9 attempts)
5 — second half at Ohio (10 attempts)
5 — first half at Villanova (12 attempts)
5 — second half vs. Nevada (15 attempts)
Those correspond to a lot of painful halves of MU basketball, don’t they?