By: Chris Brumfield
Preview: Marshall at West Virginia
Finally! The day we have all been waiting on is finally near. It’s been nearly nine months since we have last witnessed a meaningful college football game, and I couldn’t be any happier. Now, all I’m hoping for is a complete game, hopefully Mother Nature will oblige after the weather shortened match-up from last year.
The current line is showing WVU as a 25.5 point favorite, but I think the game could be a slightly closer contest based upon the history of the games between these two teams. The game will be televised Saturday, at noon eastern, on FX.
Who to Watch:
WVU: Everybody is looking out for QB Geno Smith, and speedy WR Tavon Austin these days, as both have been placed on pre-season award watch lists, and some even considering both as Heisman Trophy Candidates, but my eyes will be on WVU’s other threat,WR Steadman Bailey. Bailey will be playing with a chip on his shoulder after being left off the Big East First-Team a year ago, and even more so after being left off of several pre-season watch lists this summer. His 1279 receiving yards led the conference, which makes an interesting case for Bailey. Last year against The Herd, Bailey was having a solid contest in the weather shortened game (5 Rec, 75 Yds, 1 TD), and I look for bigger things in this contest. Bailey has excellent rapport with Smith, and at times last year was the number one option in WVU’s aerial attack. Also, after the highlight reel Austin and Smith compiled in the Orange Bowl verses Clemson, I expect Austin to see more than his fair share of double teams, leaving Bailey one on one most of the afternoon.
MU: For Marshall, my eyes will be on another offensive player, WR Aaron Dobson. Dobson is garnering all sorts of attention these days after really coming on strong at the end of 2011, when he made “The Catch” against East Carolina, he had a strong game that afternoon finishing with four catches, for 110 yards, and 2 scores, one being the aforementioned catch, and the other being a 77 yarder, helping spark The Herd to victory, and bowl eligibility. For the season he snagged 49 balls, for 668 yards, and 12 scores; his combination of size, speed, and knack for making tough catches has a lot of people excited around Huntington, especially after getting preseason All-CUSA honors. I also think he could be primed for a big game with WVU losing their top DB Keith Tandy to the NFL this offseason. Tandy was a savvy player who had a knack for making big plays, and hits, making quarterbacks think twice before going his way. Dobson should be able to take advantage of this void and have a really nice day hooking up with a more confident, and experienced QB Rakeem Cato.
Opening the season in a rivalry game is always interesting. You can never fully anticipate how either team will react, and penalties are always prevalent in these games, making it hard to give an accurate prediction, but I feel that the Mountaineers have too much talent on the offensive side to lose this one, but Marshall will play well, in fact they will make the game seem a lot closer than the final that I am predicting. Enough beating around the bush, WVU 49, Marshall 27, in a game full of penalties and turnovers. If you like what you read please continue to follow me at www.chinstrapsports.com.
By: Chris Brumfield
“He’s here because he’s a damn good player, and he likes Marshall… It kind of pisses me off, to be honest, when people use academics as an excuse that he’s here. He’s here because we’re a great program, we have a great tradition, and we’re a great school.” This was Marshall Head Football Coach Doc Holliday’s response to media scrutiny surrounding four-star recruit, A.J. Leggett’s decision to play at Marshall.
Leggett had committed to Miami and Florida State prior to finally officially signing with the Herd. De-committing from prestigious schools like those have led many to believe that Leggett had a certain level of risk surrounding his academic standing, and subsequently not being able to suit up this Fall; a risk that many programs may have been unwilling to take.
Regardless of the reason behind Leggett’s arrival at Marshall, he’s here, and I’m excited to see what he’s got. He should add speed and depth to a secondary that struggled last season. Who wouldn’t want to play for a passionate coach like Holliday? It’s no surprise with the approach he has to the game, that he has gained the reputation as one of the top recruiters in the country. Urban Meyer didn’t keep him around in Florida for nothing. The guy connects with young athletes and gets them on campus. Mark my words, Holliday will continue to make splashes in recruiting, and Marshall will become a better program for it.
I can attest that the talent level has been on the rise since Holliday took over; RB Travon Van and QB Rakeem Cato are prime examples, as both made major contributions as freshmen a year ago. Last year’s bowl victory is evidence of it. If the coaching staff can utilize this influx of talent to their highest potential, Herd fans should on the lookout for more wins and a berth in a better bowl game this season as a result.
Doc’s got me ready for some football; it’s a good thing that the season is only 23 days away! I hope that you have enjoyed this article and continue to check-in with chinstrapsports.com for more information on Marshall Football.
By: Chris Brumfield
Hello Chinstrap Sports fans! My name is Chris Brumfield, and to steal a phrase from Tim Tebow, I’d like to say that “I’m excited!” to be covering the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Marshall University Thundering Herd Football for this site.
About me, I am a recent graduate of Marshall University, where I studied civil engineering, and rarely missed a home football game. I have been a Huntington, WV resident all my life and have a great amount of pride in the program. Aside from being a fan of The Herd, I have always rooted on the Pittsburgh Steelers in good times, and bad; fortunately most of those times have been good, and look to continue to be so. That all being said, I jumped at the opportunity to cover these two teams. I hope that all of the followers of this outlet find my articles informative and entertaining. And now for some sports news!
It doesn’t take a seasoned football fan to notice that Ben Roethlisberger has spent much of the past few seasons running for his life. Some of this is just Ben being Ben, buying time in the pocket to make the gutsy play for his team; other times he’s lucky to have time to glance down field before he has Terrell Suggs busting up his grill. Whichever the case might be it was a relief to see how the team progressively addressed the o-line issue with an overhauling of the unit that was among the league leaders in starting combinations from a season ago.
This offseason saw the team release veteran guard, Chris Kemoeatu, and bring in rookies David De Castro, from Stanford and Mike Adams from Ohio State. I personally, was glad to see Kemoeatu be sent packing, as I feel that no single player cost the team more wins over the past three seasons than he. If it wasn’t a blatant holding call at a pivotal point in the game, it was a total lack of effort from his part. To replace him, the team made one of the best value picks in the draft when they selected the All-American guard De Castro with their first round pick. Big things are expected of De Castro, but his work ethic and football IQ will bring him a long way. He will be a big upgrade at the position, and be a force to be reckoned with alongside center Maurkice Pouncey. Adams is a physical specimen at the tackle position where he dominated at times in college. He had all the tools to be a first round pick, but was his own worst enemy at times, allowing himself to hurt his reputation and draft stock. If there is anybody in the league who could handle such a job as polishing this talent, Mike Tomlin would definitely be on the list. With coach Tomlin he will succeed or find himself looking for work, I have a feeling Adams will be up to the challenge and become a stalwart on this line.
It won’t hurt that Adams will be tutored by a true pro in longtime Steeler tackle Max Starks, a two-time Superbowl Champion with the team, and personal friend of Roethlisberger, who recently resigned with the team, after being cut after suffering a torn ACL. It was Roethlisberger who lobbied for his old buddy’s return, wearing Starks number 78 jersey during practice to show how he felt about bringing Starks back. The tackle position forecasts to be a much deeper position than in the past, with second year man from Florida, Marcus Gilbert returning after an impressive rookie season.
These developments led to the often injured tackle Willie Colon being moved to the guard spot opposite of De Castro. Colon, if he can remain healthy could be a very good guard for the Steelers, and at the least an upgrade at the position from last year. That shapes up the starting front of Adams/Starks, Colon, Pouncey, DeCastro, and Gilbert, with versatile role players like Doug Legursky also figuring to see the field. All of this should have Roethlisberger with more time to do what he does best, and that is make big plays and win games.
I don’t know about you, but writing this article has me all fired up for some Steelers football! If you enjoyed what you read here, please be sure to tune back in with the site as I will be periodically posting updates as news breaks with the team, but until then keep those Terrible Towels twirling!