The Marshall football team held its first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. The offense had a solid day, while the defense showed signs of improvement. The offense, for the most part, kept the upper hand despite a case of the dropsies in the passing game. Scrimmage stats are at the bottom of this post.
I tried to grab the starting lineups for offense and defense, and here’s what I was able to glean. (Remember, this is the starting lineup of the first scrimmage of the spring. Like they put at the bottom of every ticket for a pro wrestling show, this card is subject to change.)
Offense: QB — Cato; RB — Grooms and Butler (they alternated possessions with the 1s); WR — Evans, Shuler, Wilkins; TE — E. Frohnapfel (remember, Hoskins is hurt); OL — Niemeyer, Johansson, Jasperse, Scott, Schooler (some injuries to key players, Jeffries and Dees among them, on that unit as well).
Defense — DL — Taylor, Dillon, Sparrow, Bazzie; LB — Houston, B. Mitchell (Holmes got some work with the 1s as well); DB — Tindal, Lovett, Roberts, Hunter, Letman.
Things to note on D: Yup, that’s a nickel package that Marshall is running. Head Coach Doc Holliday said that the way the offenses are structured in C-USA with a lot of four-receiver packages, you need athleticism to guard them and you don’t want a linebacker doing it. Holliday likes Tindal’s energy.
Grooms and Taliaferro were back on kickoff return, while Shuler, Grooms and Tindal were catching punts. We’ve seen Devon Smith back at punt return, too, but I don’t remember seeing him there Saturday. Maybe they used that time to give his foot a rest, because he got plenty of work with the 2s during the scrimmage.
Among the scrimmage’s notable plays:
– Smith had a nice 35-yard catch from Blake Frohnapfel early on in the scrimmage. You could tell how important the slot receiver was Saturday. Smith and Shuler combined for 124 yards on 11 catches.
– Demetrius Evans hit the turf hard and might have gotten his bell rung a little on a diving catch attempt. He came back into the scrimmage, but went to the sideline again, probably just to be safe.
– Derek Mitchell had a big day, with a team-high eight tackles, 3.5 for a loss and three “sacks.” (The quotes are there because QBs get tagged down rather than tackled in practice.)
– When Blake Frohnapfel got some work with the first string (more on that in a little bit), he found brother Eric for a short pass that Eric took up the sideline for a nice 25-yard gain. Blake had another pretty touchdown throw earlier in the scrimmage, finding Chris Alston Jr. in stride in the back of the end zone for a 19-yard score.
– Penn State transfer Shawney Kersey had a lot of passes thrown his way, but struggled with some drops. He did have one nice play near the red zone, taking a short pass and putting a cut on Corey Tindal that left Tindal on the ground and Kersey free for a 19-yard gain.
Offensive coordinator Bill Legg said he put his arm around Kersey right after practice to keep his spirits up …
I said, look, there’s not a guy out here that hasn’t made a mistake. I played a lot of football years ago and I’ve been coaching a long time. I made mistakes. I still make mistakes. … I get mad at myself for about five seconds but then I have to move on, because if I remain angry, then affects the next play and the next play and the next play.
Speaking of Legg, he said you can expect to see Cato’s reps start getting dialed back over the next couple of weeks. Considering he’s the reigning C-USA MVP, there isn’t much mystery in his capabilities. Legg wants to see more of Frohnapfel and Gunnar Holcombe and wants to get freshman Kevin Anderson on the field, too. He’s been holding Anderson out to allow him to get used to college football.
Also speaking of Legg, he gave us what might be one of the best answers to any question ever. We asked him about building an offensive line and he talked about how, in a perfect world, you want to give linemen time to learn before they make the rotation.
Nowadays, everything’s instantaneous. If I want to know something, I can just pop up the Internet and there it is. It wasn’t like that back in the day. We used to drive to the library, get out, go to the card catalog, find it, go to the proper stack, look it up and find the proper page to find the answer. That’s the generation we grew up in. That’s kinda how offensive line works. There’s no changing that, unless the NCAA makes it legal to shoot horse steroids into them.
He was joking about the horse steroids. I repeat, he. was. joking. about. the. horse. steroids. Still, answers like that make my job fun.
That’s all for today. Here are the stats from the first scrimmage, via the good folks at Marshall Sports Info.
Total Offense: 101 plays, 459 yards
Grooms 7-30, TD
Cato 3-(-1), TD
B. Frohnapfel 3-(-3)
B. Frohnapfel 12-20-162-3TDs
D. Smith 5-52
E. Frohnapfel 3-46, TD
Alston 2-22, 2TDs
Grace 2-21, TD
Grooms 2-15, TD
D. Mitchell 8 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 3 sacks
Myers 7 tackles, 2 TFL (safety)
Houston 7 tackles
Thomas 5 tackles
Carter 6 tackles, 1 PBU
Hunter 5 tackles
Strong 4 tackles, 2.5 TFL
C. Wilson 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU
B. Mitchell 4 tackles, 1 TFL
Tindal 4 tackles, 3 PBU
Samuels 3 tackles
Gilchrist 3 tackles
Bazzie 2 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
Lovett 2 tackles, 2 PBU
Roberts 2 tackles, 1 PBU
Holmes 2 tackles
K. Smith 2 tackles
Dillon 2 tackles
Massaquoi 1 tackle, 1 TFL
Yamoah 1 tackle
Meadows 1 tackle
Taylor 1 tackle
Samuel 1 tackle