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Youngsters to keep battling at Green-White

HUNTINGTON — Marshall's Green-White Game is more of a fan appreciation day of sorts. No halftime concert this time around, but Chad Pennington and his NFL buddies are expected to drop by and say hello.

Along the way, there will be a little football. Better yet, some football that could help a player or two up the depth chart.

Who knows? The only thing that's certain is the start time, which is 2 p.m., and the cost to get in, which is $10. All seats are general admission.

The game format will more or less be a scrimmage, with the offense wearing green and the defense wearing white. But there will be scoring — when Rakeem Cato is quarterbacking, his points will count for the Green; Blake Frohnapfel will be scoring for the White.

With that, here's a glimpse of what you might see, with an approximate ranking of positions from most stable to most uncertain.

n Wide receiver: You may see a toss or two to Aaron Dobson, but he'll likely check out early. Ditto for Antavious Wilson.

But this team has cultivated a decent stable, and some of the younger ones will be on display. Tommy Shuler, the boyhood friend of Cato, is starting to make big-time catches and runs.

n Quarterback: This is simple. Cato is the man. Freshman Frohnapfel will throw as much and as long as his healing shoulder allows, but that has climbed closer to 100 percent. It doesn't appear QB coach Tony Petersen will be needed.

n Defensive tackles: With Marques Aiken on the mend from his hernia, this position has built considerable depth. Check out junior-college import Ken Smith and the "Big Cheese," Blake Brooks.

n Cornerbacks: Half this unit has worn blue "no contact" jerseys all spring, but do they really need contact now? Keith Baxter is stepping up to the level of Darryl Roberts and Monterius "Pacman" Lovett.

n Offensive line: Check out juco import Gage Niemeyer, who had doubleshifted in at least one practice this spring. Can center Channing Smith, who has given Chris Jasperse's back, prove worthy of the two-deep?

n Safeties: With Derek Mitchell on the shelf and Phillip Warren dismissed, this position has featured a potentially dynamic threesome of Even McKelvey, Zach Dunston and D.J. Hunter.

n Defensive ends: Let the post-Vinny Curry era begin. You know Jeremiah Taylor is one likely starter, but how good can Ra'Shawde Myers be? Or is he too slender at this point?

n Running backs: So how does this position, with Tron Martinez and Travon Van, sink this far on this list?

It starts with those two being out all spring after surgery, which may turn out for the best in the fall. It had better, especially after Martin Ward put his senior year in grave jeopardy with two arrests — including a DUI he apparently tried to sneak past the coaching staff.

Essray Taliaferro has had a blue jersey much of the spring, so it's questionable how many carries he can take today. Remi Watson will be watching, so Kevin Rodriguez has better strap it up again.

n Linebackers: So much talent, so much ... young, raw talent. Devin Arrington is having a big spring, but he's a senior and that was expected. With Billy Mitchell out, Jermaine Holmes, Deon Meadows, Armonze Daniel and Cortez Carter are getting good reps and reaping the benefits.

But will this unit hang with West Virginia, Purdue and Conference USA?

n Kicking specialists: Uh, oh. You might like Justin Haig/Trent Martin at kicker. You may see good punts from Austin Dumas. Or they many shank kicks. Or may never get a clean snap.

Those, and other position sagas, are sure to continue in August.

Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsmock@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.


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