Inside Marshall Sports

From last week: My fav Ruffin McNeil story

Thought this would be an appropriate contrast to what you may have seen elsewhere today.

And if I ever bellyache about a team running up the score in a 37-10 game, I want somebody to beat me senseless with a 2×4.

Why is MU a favorite?

Well, this El Paso Times writer might sum it up about UTEP’s chances at Marshall, and for the rest of the season.

The game story from UTEP tells about its 34-24 *home* loss to Tulane, and the state of the team.

Should coaches ice the kicker?

This isn’t meant as a second-guess of Doc Holliday, rather the “conventional wisdom” on the topic.

Should you ever “ice” the kicker by calling a timeout before his late-in-half or critical late-in-game field goal? The more I see it done — and the more I see kickers boot the ball through the uprights anyway — I’m beginning to think NOT.

Marshall called timeout as East Carolina kicker Mike Barbour lined up a 40-yard field goal with 7 seconds left in the first half. The kick would give ECU a 20-10 halftime lead, with the Pirates getting the ball to start the second half.

Barbour made the kick after the timeout, which I think *helped* his cause.

Here is my thinking: No matter how long the kicker has been warming up on the sidelines, he experiences a quick change and rush of adrenaline when called upon. Some kickers handle it better than others, but I think his chances of rushing his kick, getting off his mechanics, etc., are higher when his heart rate is up and he’s excited.

Call a timeout and the guy gets a minute to settle down. The good ones use it, too — former ECU kicker Ben Hartman and coach Skip Holtz used to tell each other bad jokes. I figure Hartman’s pulse dropped to about 10 beats a minute by the time those timeouts ended. Most kickers use the time to get their mechanics back down.

I say it’s time to rush the kickers, not try to “ice” them. It would save us all a minute of our lives.

Shoot, I was wondering about this one…

Marshall opened the game with a dime formation on defense with Vinny
Curry, Marques Aiken and Delvin Johnson serving as the down linemen, Tyson
Gale, Mario Harvey, Zach Dunston, and Ahmed Shakoor at the linebacker
positions and a defensive backfield with Monterius Lovett, Rashad Jackson,
Donald Brown and Omar Brown. The game marked the first time this season that
Marques Aiken and Zach Dunston have started.

Grades for ECU game

OFFENSE: F

No, the three first-half picks weren’t really good, but ECU’s D-backs didn’t have to respect the run. I’ll have to hear about ECU fans happy about its defense for a change.

DEFENSE: D

Kept Dwayne Harris from killing it, but yielded 194 rushing yards … most up the snout. That’s why offenses try to *spread* you out.

QUARTERBACKING: D

Occasionally, BA was very good. He threw one really bad pick on the bomb, one semi-bad pick on the corner route and that helmet-bumper that Press Taylor always threw in practice. I’m not on the Eddie Sullivan bandwagon.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D

Short punt led to first ECU touchdown, kickoff returns a notch above awful (except for the usual holding penalty), should have given up a fake punt (the punter turned down a first down on a rugby punt). But hey, Tyler Warner hit a 22-yard field goal.

COACHING: C

Hey, these guys were throwing a *lot* at ECU today, so give them a little credit. Got torched on the defensive side when the Pirates popped those deadly runs up the middle, etc.

OVERALL: D

Maybe I’ve gotten numb to watching this season, but this didn’t feel like a 27-point loss. But it was.

A.J. Graham will miss the ECU game, and we heard the phrase “high ankle sprain” dropped from Doc Holliday… He’s still in a boot and will be reevaluated Sunday… Landis Provancha seems doubtful at left guard — in my experience, if they get mentioned at the presser and don’t practice Tuesday, they won’t play.

Demetrius Evans, whom coaches were high on, probably will miss. He got hurt very, very early in the UCF game.

Willy Korn update

Let’s see … he has played two real tomato cans the last two games … having seen Ohio State-Newark try to play basketball, I am shocked that bunch tries to play football.

Korn missed a winning two-pointer against Lenoir-Rhyne, but isn’t doing poorly. Note in the stats that he has thrown *one* pick.

Grades for UCF game

(just cleaned it up… long daggone night)

OFFENSE: D

Genereous grade pulled up by Aaron Dobson’s two great touchdown catches. Running game was dead from the outset. Wilson was locked down, etc.

DEFENSE: D

Just got pounded up the middle by Ronnie Weaver, and the tackling disintegrated as the game wore on. QB draws near the goal line are automatic scores. UCF was 5-for-5 on third downs in the first quarter, 5-for-12 afterward. Didn’t let Jeff Godfrey kill it, though, as UAB did last week.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F

Kase Whitehead should go rugby punt as often as he can. Otherwise … This unit was wretched, as it has been all year.

QUARTERBACKING: D

Raised it from F because these guys somehow avoided a sack and did get some momentum before the delay. But the situation has deteriorated and BA threw his fourth “pick six.” This is getting painful.

COACHING: D

I don’t know … I just don’t know. I’m not sure I could have called the offense any better with the personnel, but I would *not* have called BA on the option against those defensive ends.

OVERALL: F

Do not ever, ever, ever, ever, ever put the Herd in white unis at home again. Never!

UCF pregame (7:31 p.m.)

A.J. Graham is not out warming up, but he is in his jersey, with a single crutch… … doesn’t mean he’s not out, but he’s certainly not warming up … noticed John Bruhin in a 64 for the first time in a while. … CHRIS BOWERS is in shorts, so he won’t be available… Mr. Schofield had better stay in one piece…

Looks like Landis Provancha is back starting at right guard.

Check the Huntington and national radar if you get a chance … it could get ugly, with our ridiculous deadline and all…

First, the development out of Orlando with the kicking game. G’bye, Nick Cattoi?

Here is a good look at how UCF may try to handle Marshall’s defense, which clearly wants the Knights to beat them through the air.

… About the white-out. I kinda like those, but I’m not crazy about the players playing with the white unis. I’ve watched the Herd play three games with three jerseys and it hasn’t been pretty… And if you saw the print Gazette today and saw the quote of the day, UCF is barking about being able to wear black. … If you believe in those things, that’s a bad, bad play.

(I asked Mike Hamrick if he had burned Brian Anderson’s white jersey and issued him a new one. I was only half-joking.)

Enjoy the game and wish me luck…

Juco hoops commitment

Dennis Tinnon, 6-8, from Kansas City Kansas Community College. (Yes, friends, that is the actual name of the school.)  More to come tonight/Wednesday, along with the usual gameday football stuff.