HUNTINGTON - With spring football in the books for Marshall, it's time to take a breath, enjoy a little baseball, softball, track and field, etc., and take stock in the Thundering Herd's prospects with 129 long days until opening kickoff at Ohio State.
It's time for the preseason mags to make their annual attempt at prognostication magic. I'm not sure it takes much to expect them to peg the Thundering Herd fourth in Conference USA's East Division.
I mean, the Herd was 2-13 against Central Florida, Southern Mississippi and East Carolina in the last five years. Yes, a new coach is on board and you can see some reasons for improvement, but respect is earned.
On the other hand, I'm going to giggle at anybody who puts the Herd ahead of Memphis and UAB because ... well, just because.
There are a reasons for the green-clads to be nervous. With that, let's attempt a state of each position, ranked from strongest to most worrisome.
In my book, Booker is the top return threat, even if Troy Evans strings together a few minutes of good health.
And will Devin Arrington keep the strong-side position after Howard King's knee injury? Will the position be an asset or a liability?
Whatever the case, the end position opposite Vinny Curry needs to be productive. DeMetrius Thompson returned from an early-spring injury, and always gets tougher to rule out.
If Delvin Johnson returns to full strength and fulfills any of his potential, the tackle spots are deep and solid. Michael Janac and Johnny Jones can be beasts, but can they do it every week?
Still, you probably don't want to see Smith go down. You want the Hatten/Mitchell hybrid to maintain a supporting role for a year.
I'm not sure who starts against Ohio State, or who finishes as starter, but this may work out for the Herd.