What you need to know ...
Could that really have been the Marshall offense? It was
the worst scoring attack in Conference USA averaging a mere
18.55 points per game getting inconsistent quarterback
production and no push for the running game from the offensive
line. There's hope for a big improvement with four starters
returning up front, Bernie Morris and Jimmy Skinner back at
quarterback, the top three wide receivers returning along with
speedster Emanuel Spann, and running back Ahmad Bradshaw good
enough to be in the mix for all-star honors.
Passing: Jimmy Skinner
114-184, 1,135 yds, 6 TD, 8 INT
Rushing: Ahmad Bradshaw
214 carries, 997 yds, 9 TD
Receiving: Ahmad Bradshaw
56 catches, 381 yds, 1 TD
Star of the offense: Junior RB Ahmad Bradshaw
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior QB
Bernie Morris and/or senior QB Jimmy Skinner
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Emanuel Spann
Best pro prospect: Senior OT Seth Cook
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Bradshaw, 2) Morris, 3)
Strength of the offense: Experience, running back
Weakness of the offense:
Proven consistency at quarterback, power running back
The coaching staff had to do everything possible to find
some sort of offensive spark switching up quarterbacks a bit too
often. It worked some of the time, but now the offense needs one
player to to grab the job and keep it. Bernie Morris is the most
talented of the group with great running ability and a decent
arm, and now he has to be sharper throwing the ball. Jimmy
Skinner is a nice passer without the skills of Morris, but he
has enough experience to win over the starting job. Derek Devine
is a good bomber who'll get a shot at winning the number two
The key to the unit: One quarterback has to be the
main man with Bernie Morris hopefully turning into the one.
Better overall play is needed from the entire group.
Quarterback Rating: 6.5
- Bernard Morris, Jr. - 114-216, 53%, 1,121 yds, 6 TD, 6
INT, 75 carries, 256 yds, 4 TD
Morris turned into a clutch passer even though he was
maddeningly inconsistent. He turned out to be his best when
coming off the bench thanks to the mobility that helped him
finish second on the team in rushing to go along with a good
deep arm. With all he can do, he gives the offense far more
options than Jimmy Skinner does, but he has to be better and
getting the offense moving than he was over the second half of
last year before he was knocked out with an injury.
- Jimmy Skinner, Sr. - 114-184, 62%, 1,135 yds, 6 TD,
Skinner is a better pure passer than Bernie Morris, but he isn't
a runner and doesn't have the same upside. He was a spot starter
who wasn't bad when filling in for Morris showing good accuracy
and a nice command for the offense. To win the starting job he
has to prove he can put points on the board with efficient
- Derek Devine, Sr. - 0-5
The star JUCO transfer of last year is a huge passer with a
great arm, and now he should be more of a factor after learning
at the D-I level. He's not a runner like Bernie Morris, but he
has a better arm than Jimmy Skinner.
Ahmad Bradshaw has the potential to be a Conference USA
Player of the Year if he can get a little more room to run and
if he can get a passing game to take some of the heat off. Chubb
Small is a dangerous back who needs to get the ball more to
utilize his great speed. There isn't any experience behind those
two with several young backs needing playing time to develop.
There's not a sure-thing short yardage back, but 243-pound Will
Albin could potentially be one.
The key to the unit: Getting the backups more carries
to keep Ahmad Bradshaw fresh.
Running Back Rating: 7
- Ahmad Bradshaw, Jr. - 214 carries, 997 yds, 4.7 ypc, 9
TD, 56 catches, 381 yds, 6.8 ypc, 1 TD
Bradshaw had a fantastic sophomore season carrying an offense
that never got the passing game going. He's a speedy back with
decent power and fantastic hands leading the team in receiving.
He has the ability to hit the home run every time the ball is in
his hands, and most importantly for the offense, he can answer
the call when needed as a workhorse carrying it 109 times over
the final four games.
- Chubb Small, Soph. - 58 carries, 197 yds, 3.4 ypc, 9
catches, 42 yds, 4.7 ypc, 1 TD
Small is a pure speed back with 4.3 speed who turned into a
tremendous kick returner averaging 25.9 yards per kickoff return
as a true freshman. He's not all that big at 5-9 and 193 pounds,
but he's a dangerous option when the coaching staff can figure
out how to get him the ball in the open field.
- Will Albin, Jr.
The 6-3, 243-pound Albin didn't get any carries being used as a
blocker and on special teams. With his size he could be used as
a short-yardage back.
The corps has plenty of experience, and now
it has to come up with a game-breaker if JUCO transfer Darius
Passmore doesn't become one. The top three wide receivers, Hiram
Moore, Marcus Fitzgerald, and Shaun Lauzon are back and should
be even better now that they know what they're doing. Adding a
huge boost is the returning speed of Emanuel Spann after missing
all of last year with a knee injury. The tight end situation
shouldn't be bad with Brian Shope, Matt Parkhurst and Cody Slate
all able to replace Jeff Mullins without a problem.
The key to the unit: More deep plays. The Herd only
averaged 9.9 yards per catch and needs at least one player to
start stretching things deep.
Receiver Rating: 6
- Hiram Moore, Sr. - 53 catches, 630 yds, 11.9 ypc, 4 TD
Moore was the surprise of the season coming from out of nowhere
to lead the team in receiving. He started off hot, cooled off,
and then became a top target again late in the year catching
eight passes for 122 yards and a score against Southern Miss. He grew into one of the team's bigger play receivers
even though he's not a deep threat.
- Shawn Lauzon, Jr. - 31 catches, 295 yds, 9.5 ypc, 3 TD
The former walk-on has the size at 6-6 and 204 pounds to become
a dangerous target, especially around the goal line. He didn't
have a breakout game, but he was consistent catching at least
one pass in every game with two touchdowns in the final three
- Emanuel Spann, Soph.
Spann is a lightning quick receiver who's a perfect slot man,
but he has to prove he can come back 100% from a torn ACL that
cost him all of last year. He caught
27 passes for 233 yards in 2004. He also has the potential to be
a top kick returner.
- Tight end Brian Shope, Jr. - 1 catch, 6 yds
The 248-pound Shope bulked up 15 pounds over the last season and
should be a better blocking option than fellow tight end Matt
Parkhurst. At 6-5 and with good hands, Shope has to be a
consistent safety valve and midrange target.
- Marcus Fitzgerald, Jr. - 41 catches, 448 yds, 10.9
ypc, 2 TD
The brother of NFL star Larry Fitzgerald, Marcus is still
growing into his potential. He has the speed and the hands, and
now he needs to get healthy and find a starting spot after being
the team's most consistent receiver. So far he has been used too
much as a possession receiver.
- Matt Morris, Sr. - 6 catches, 81 yds, 13.5 ypc
Part tight end, part wide receiver, the 6-3, 219-pound senior is
a physical target playing behind Shawn Lauzon. He saw all his
catches over the first five games of last season and will have a
hard time cracking the rotation if all the other receivers are
- Darius Passmore,
Could he be the team's top new deep threat? The JUCO transfer
and top recruit is 6-3 and has 4.4 speed coming off an 18-touchdown season at
College of the
Sequoias in California.
- Tight end Matt Parkhurst, Soph.
A very tough 238 pounds, Parkhurst will get every shot at
winning the starting tight end job if he can prove he can become
a reliable receiver.
Four starters return to a line that has to be much better
after only paving the way for 1,399 rushing yards. Left tackle Toby
Bullock is the only loss. Veteran Seth Cook will move from the right
side to the left meaning Wesley Jones has to shine in Cook's spot. Doug
Legursky is an emerging star at center and will be the anchor even
though Cook is the line's best player. The guard positions are wide open
with last year's starters David Ziegler and John Inman getting a big
The key to the unit: Better overall production and
more physical play in the running game.
Offensive Line Rating: 6.5
- OT Seth Cook, Sr.
The 6-4, 332-pound senior will go from the right side to the left where
he should be the team's best lineman. He's a strong pass blocker with 22
games of starting experience to rely on. He can dominate when he's on.
- OG David Ziegler, Jr.
Mostly a backup tackle early on, Ziegler was decent at left guard last
year where he started every game. He could move back to tackle or play
right guard if Zane Bruhin wins the starting job.
- C Doug Legursky, Jr.
Legursky went from being a reliable backup to the anchor of the line.
He's a tough 311 pounds who'll be in the hunt for all-star honors after
being named second-team All-MAC.
- OG John Inman, Jr.
Inman filled in a big hole at right guard and had a good, but not great
season. He's a big 6-5 and 302 pounds who started every game over the
second half of last year, but he'll have to battle with Brian Leggett to
hold on to the job.
- OT Wesley Jones, Sr.
The star JUCO transfer of last year now has to come through and be a key
blocker on the right side taking over for Seth Cook. He's 6-5 and 329
pounds with the potential to grow into one of the rocks up front. He can
play on the other side if needed.
- G Brian Leggett, Soph.
While not tall, the 6-1, 285-pound sophomore is a physical run
blocker who gets good leverage. He'll get every chance to win the
starting job at right guard and will also be used as a reserve center.
- G Zane Bruhin, RFr.
At 6-6 and 301 pounds, the redshirt freshman is a bigger option
at left guard than David Ziegler. The position is wide open even
though Ziegler started every game.