Marshall Preview 2006 - Offense
Marshall Thundering Herd
Posted Aug 7, 2006

Marshall Thundering Herd Preview 2006 - Herd Offense

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.

Returning Leaders
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) Cook
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 job.
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

Projected Starter
- 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.

Top Backups
- Jimmy Skinner, Sr. - 114-184, 62%, 1,135 yds, 6 TD, 8 INT
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 drives.

- 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.

Running Backs
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

Projected Starters
- 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.

Top Backups
- 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

Projected Starters
- 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 weeks.

- 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.

Top Backups
- 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 healthy.
Darius Passmore, Jr.
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.

Offensive Linemen
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 challenge.

The key to the unit: Better overall production and more physical play in the running game.
Offensive Line Rating: 6.5

Projected Starters
- 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.

Top Backups
- 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.

Related Stories
Marshall Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Aug 7, 2006
Marshall Preview 2006
 -by  Aug 7, 2006
Marshall Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by  Aug 7, 2006

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Marshall
[View My HotList]