2013 Marshall Spring Football Analysis
Marshall Thundering Herd 2012 ...
Head Coach: Doc Holliday
Why To Get Excited … last year’s team featured just eight seniors, meaning this year’s edition will be loaded with veterans up and down the roster. The offense will once again lead the charge behind QB Rakeem Cato, who threw for 4,201 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2012. The junior will get plenty of support from last season’s top three rushers, sure-handed receivers Tommy Shuler and Gator Hoskins and six offensive linemen with starting experience on the resume.
| 2013 Schedule|
8/31 Miami University
9/14 at Ohio
9/21 at Virginia Tech
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/12 at Florida Atlantic
10/19 at Middle Tennessee
10/26 OPEN DATE
11/2 Southern Miss
11/16 at Tulsa
11/23 at FIU
11/30 East Carolina
Why To Be Grouchy … Chuck Heater was lured away from Temple to fix the Marshall D, but can anyone realistically turn this group around? Not much thunder emanated from the Herd, which allowed at least 40 points in seven of last year’s 12 contests. Marshall is undersized in the front seven, and too often overmatched in pass defense. Track meets can be fun for viewers, but are a poor model for long-term prosperity.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … the secondary. More than any other unit of the depth chart, the defensive backfield needs to be developed between now and September. The Herd was burned for 30 touchdown passes in 2012, while picking off just nine balls. Plus, a pair of productive safeties, Dominick LeGrande and Okechukwu Okoroha, has graduated. Heater and his staff must develop the young kids, while keeping corners Darryl Roberts and A.J. Leggett healthy.
Non-Conference Games: Miami University, Gardner-Webb, at Ohio, at Virginia Tech
Games Against the West: at Tulsa, UTSA
Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 6-6
Likely Finish: 9-3
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Miami University, Gardner-Webb, at Ohio, UTSA, at Florida Atlantic, at Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, UAB, at FIU
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Virginia Tech, at Tulsa, East Carolina
Schedule Analysis: There’s no West Virginia this season, but going to Ohio will be sneaky-tough before hitting the road to face Virginia Tech. Fortunately, the conference start couldn’t be any easier with UTSA and road games at Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee wrapped around two bye weeks. Follow those up against a Southern Miss team that went winless last year and a good, not great, UAB squad, and everything should set up nicely for a possible Conference USA title game preview at Tulsa. The season could revolve around the regular season finale against East Carolina.
Team Concerns For 2013: Considering the passing game led the nation and the offense finished sixth, there isn't a lot of concern with eight starters returning, even though the offensive line has to be far better in pass protection. The defense was the second-worst in college football in points allowed, giving up over 43 per game getting flattened time and again against the run. Eight starters are back on D, and now they all have to tackle someone to take advantage of the explosive attack.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive backs. What does the nation's best passing game need? More receivers, and Doc Holliday has brought in some interesting ones with Angelo Jean-Louis destined to be a Conference USA all-star and Deontay McManus a dangerous weapon who'll quickly put up big numbers. However, the Herd also needs to stop someone, especially someone's passing game, and the hope is for JUCO transfer Taj Letman can hold down a safety job while fellow JUCOer Lakeith Murray will push for a corner gig. Those two are good, but Chocolate Wilson has the potential to be great at corner.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
91. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. Doc Holliday has a ton of quarterback prospects in place, a true sophomore in Rakeem Cato to work around, and more talent on the way, and now he needs linemen to keep the passers clean. With both starting tackles gone, the outside of the line will get really young, really fast, opening the door for a few JUCO transfers.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 65. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterback. The last two classes have loaded up on receivers, and Levern Jacobs is a 4.4 speedster coming in this year, but the Herd needs more pop to the passing game and hopes to get it with three interesting options. 6-5 Blake Frohnapfel is a chucker, Cornelius Jones if coming in from Fort Union Military Academy to try to challenge right away, and Rakeem Cato out of Miami can do a little bit of everything. Tight ends Rakim Reed and Eric Frohnapfel will be big factors in a few years.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 80. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Receivers. If
nothing else, new head man Doc Holliday will have plenty of pass
catchers to use in a rotation. Last year's Herd class was full of big, strong
receivers. This year's class is loaded with small,
quick ones led by the lightning-quick Fred Pickett.
Josh Lovell is a do-it-all tight end who could be
good enough to be better than Cody Slate with a
little bit of work, while Jazz King, Antwon Chisolm,
and Demetrius Evans are all talented enough to be
given a long look for early playing time. New
quarterback Eddie Sullivan will have plenty of
practice options to play around with.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 102. That Class Was
Heavy On ... wide receivers. The Herd has loaded up on a bunch of big, physical wide receivers that other schools felt were a little unpolished at this stage of their careers. A collection of athletes who all go at least 6-2, most are expected to do an apprenticeship in 2009 before being turned loose. A local kid, C.J. Crawford is both big and very fast. Wayne Bonner, on the other hand, comes via East Mississippi Junior College, and is most likely to chip in right away.