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Herd lines up today for Green-White Game

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - With Marshall's Green-White Game today more of a scrimmage and less of an actual game, a review of the spring season is in order.

The game takes place at 2 p.m., with admission $10 for adults and $5 for youth 17 and under. Parking in prime areas (West Lot, West Lot Annex, softball field) is $20, and only the stadium's west side will be used.

A boiled-down primer on who's who at all positions:

  • Quarterback - No controversy here. The order is clear-cut: Rakeem Cato, Blake Frohnapfel, Gunnar Holcombe and Kevin Anderson. The only question is how much Cato is used today before retiring his shoulder pads.
  • Running back - Without Kevin Grooms (likely suspended), you'll see Steward Butler, Remi Watson and heavy doses of Essray Taliaferro. All can break a good run, especially Butler.
  • Offensive line - MU has used the same unit just about all spring - from left tackle to right tackle, Gage Niemeyer, Sebastian Johansson, Chris Jasperse, Alex Schooler, Garrett Scott. Tyler Combs bears watching at No. 2 center.
  • This won't be the final depth chart, not with returning starter Jordan Jeffries and No. 2 center Cam Dees held out from contact.

  • Wide receivers - The first unit has generally consisted of Demetrius Evans (X), Craig Wilkins (Z) and Tommy Shuler (slot), but only Shuler's place is secure. These are the positions to pay the most attention offensively.
  • Shawney Kersey could be the most dangerous weapon - if he can catch. Devon "Moo-Moo" Smith is as shifty as advertised, making four- and five-receiver sets that much more dangerous.

  • Tight ends - With Gator Hoskins sitting out the spring, Eric Frohnapfel has been the no-doubt No. 1. Freshman Stefone Grace is still learning, but has raised an eyebrow here and there.
  • Defensive line - The starters have been ends Jeremiah Taylor and Alex Bazzie, with tackles Steve Dillon and Brandon Sparrow. What lurks behind them is an issue - for instance, how effective can Joe Massaquoi be? Can Ra'Shawde Myers and Armonze Daniel contribute?
  • At tackle, can Ken Smith and Jarquez Samuel give the Herd a dozen good snaps a game?

  • Linebackers - A major, major issue, especially with new defensive coordinator Chuck Heater going with a 4-2-5 alignment much of the time. In those formations, there will be two linebackers, and the Herd has been rotating those practice by practice.
  • So you'll see Billy Mitchell, Jermaine Holmes, Cortez Carter and Stefan Houston is whatever order. Just don't read much into it, particularly with Kent Turene, Evan McKelvey and Raheem Waiters returning from injury.

  • Cornerbacks - The first thing to notice is the much-welcomed return of Darryl Roberts. The second thing you may notice is there won't be a 12-yard cushion conceded to receivers. From there, compare Derrick Thomas to Monterius Lovett. Keith Baxter may get snaps today, wearing a red "no contact" jersey.
  • Nickel back - Not the rock band, the freshman wearing No. 19. That's Corey Tindal. He can play. You'll see Derek Mitchell, who plays more of a "Sam" linebacker.
  • Safeties - D.J. Hunter is back home on the range, so that's one position not really in dispute. Junior-college import Taj Letman has established himself as the running mate this spring, subject to what A.J. Leggett and/or Shawn Samuels can do in the fall.
  • Leggett and Samuels have been an all-red-jersey tag-team, but they haven't been cheated on non-contact reps. They may play some today.

  • What to expect, overall - The starting defense is an obvious underdog, but made strides when Heater installed his first blitz package. On the second string, the defense gains the upper hand in the trenches, and has given Blake Frohnapfel and Holcombe good pressure.
  • Special teams - With only Justin Haig kicking and Tyler Williams punting, there has been little suspense this spring. There will be no live special-teams action today.
  • Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsmock@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.

     


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