Van Horn tabbed as Herd captain for Saturday
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - It's not a bad habit, but a habit nonetheless: Marshall coach Doc Holliday naming Chris Jasperse one of his team's game captains.
Jasperse, the iron-man center who received a rare rest last week against Southern Mississippi, was named for the seventh time in a row. As is Holliday's custom, he announced the four game captains at the start of his Tuesday press conference: Jasperse, Rakeem Cato and first-timers Brandon Sparrow and Jermaine Holmes.
Fine enough, except for one thing: He actually gave Jasperse a rest from the coin toss this week when Alabama-Birmingham comes to town. Seventeen minutes, 13 seconds after announcing Jasperse, he said, "You know, I was wrong on that captain thing."
No, that honor goes to Clint Van Horn, the sophomore from Beckley who has elevated himself to starting right tackle quite nicely. In his second start last week, he played all 63 snaps and scored a team-high 92 percent success rate. He had a knockdown, giving him eight in the last three games.
It was another milestone for Van Horn, whom coaches praised well before his rise up the depth chart. The 6-foot-4, 294-pounder was informed of his new honor Sunday, and he certainly perked up.
"I didn't expect it," Van Horn said. "I mean, I've played well since I got the starting position, but it doesn't seem real sometimes. It caught me off guard - I'm proud to be a captain, I'm glad the coaches entrusted that responsibility to me; it just shocked me."
Van Horn rise to starter placed him in a quintet that played all 89 snaps at Middle Tennessee. The fivesome had to break up when Garrett Scott, moved to left tackle to make room for Van Horn, was injured on Rakeem Cato's freak fumble in the second quarter.
Gage Niemeyer, who started the first six games, stepped in the rest of the way.
"I thought he played well. Gage, he's played a lot for us," Holliday said. "There's not a football team out there that's not going through injuries and that type of thing, and you need them all at some point. Somebody's going to have to step up, and Gage did that."
Scott injured his right shoulder and/or wrist, and was wearing wraps on both when he returned to the sidelines. He stayed in full dress, shoulder pads and all. Holliday said Niemeyer will have to play against UAB, but also said Scott will play.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.