HUNTINGTON - Ah, spring games. For excitement, they are college football's version of pro football's Pro Bowl.
There are quarterback taps. There are punts with an offensive line consisting of a center. And in the end here on Saturday before 4,543 Marshall fans, Marshall defeated Marshall 21-7.
Yes, there were some noteworthy moments and performances. Quarterback Rakeem Cato showed some nice moves. It was nice to see defensive back D.J. Hunter playing and ready to deliver hits. Receiver Tommy Shuler had a nice catch and run, tumbling into the end zone.
Also, linebacker Cortez Carter seemed to use the game for its original intent: to make a mark. He had a fumble return for a score and a couple sacks. ("Every time you go out on the field, you have to give it 110 percent," said the sophomore from Bealteton, Va. "Right now, I'm learning the Sam and Will linebacker positions, being versatile. As with all linebackers here, you have to be versatile. You have to be ready to go when your number is called.")
The end of spring, though, is most useful to reflect on pre-drills goals - and to determine whether those goals were met. After Saturday's game, MU coach Doc Holliday said many were.
"Offensively, we were looking for the offensive line to continue to develop," he said. "And we're a young football team. The quarterback situation, we want to develop more leadership and leadership skills.
"We wanted to get some depth at the running back and receiver position. [Aaron] Dobson and [Antavious Wilson] and [Andre] Booker didn't play today. I don't need to see those guys anymore. We want to see those young guys begin to grow up: [Craig] Wilkins and [Tommy] Shuler and Demetrius Evans and those guys.
"I thought that happened. We did lose a couple tight ends [Eric Frohnapfel and Gator Hoskins] early [in the game] and you didn't get an opportunity to see what we worked on this spring, but that's OK. We got out pretty healthy and that's the important thing."
Dobson, the pride of Dunbar, pointed at another offensive objective.
"Tempo," said the 6-foot-3 senior. "Definitely tempo. That's what we've worked on since the beginning of spring. We've been trying to get more plays in. We're going to try and get 20, maybe 30 more snaps in a game.
"We've been getting lined up faster. Our communication has been better."