Saturday’s Marshall spring football practice could be labeled as scrimmage-ish.
There were plenty of special teams and individual drills through the morning, but the team broke into offense and defense for two sessions. The first was pretty light on contact. The second was much more physical. Official stats weren’t kept — and the action often was too fast for me to keep an accurate tally myself — but I can offer some general impressions of the day.
– The tight ends all performed well this morning. Eric Frohnapfel made a pretty catch over Michael Johnson and Tiquan Lang in 7-on-7 drills. (Might have felt like a little bit of revenge for Frohnapfel on Lang, after Rakeem Cato’s first attempt of the first scrimmage session — a pass to Frohnapfel — was batted away by Lang.) Frohnapfel caught another 16-yarder in the second scrimmage session, holding on even after a strong hit by A.J. Leggett.
Then it was Devon Johnson’s turn. First came an 18-yard strike from Cato, then a 20-yard touchdown in the front left corner of the end zone. Taj Letman picked off a Cato attempt to Johnson later in the session, but another defender had about half of Johnson’s jersey in his hands. Deon-Tay McManus also did OK for himself, making a few tough catches with the backups.
– At least for today, Kevin Grooms was the first running back to take snaps on offense. Gunnar Holcombe was the second quarterback to take snaps, and freshman Cole Garvin was the third. Kevin Anderson got some work at the end. It looked like, at least for today, Holcombe has the early lead on the No. 2 quarterback spot. (Not that that’s too surprising. He does have the most experience in the system.)
– Behind Grooms, Marshall ran just about every other running back, though walk-on Assani Mudimbi was the second back to get carries today. He’s a bigger guy (at least he looks bigger than the 5-foot-10 and 189 pounds at which he’s listed), so he might be able to offer a change of pace from speedsters like Grooms and Steward Butler. Butler, by the way, has a 25-yard touchdown run today. Also, this running back group likely will look a bit different in the fall with Tony Pittman and Brandon Byrd in the mix.
We’ll likely see a more traditional-looking scrimmage next week, so keep an eye out for stats that day. And keep an eye out for coverage this week, including stories on Marshall’s outside receivers and Sebastian Johansson’s move from guard to tackle.