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Herd QB ready for fresh start

By Brad Myers, The Parthenon
August 10, 2004
(U-WIRE) DETROIT -- Starting Marshall quarterback Stan Hill has high hopes for this year's Thundering Herd football team.

The senior is looking to bounce back from last year's injury-filled season that kept him on the sideline for much of the season. Marshall finished the season 8-4, a disappointing season by Herd standards.

"If you go 8-4 and it's a letdown, that says something," Hill said. "But we lost to some big-time teams. We had some key injuries last year on offense and defense, and I think it really affected our football team."

Hill's knee injury only allowed him to play in six games last season, but the Herd quarterback still passed for 1,767 yards and 15 touchdowns. Hill said he worked hard in the offseason to get better for the upcoming season.

"I guess I did kind of fall out of the spotlight because I only played in selected games last year," Hill said. "I think I've got a lot better this summer. I really worked on my strength, my leg and my mind. I've watched a lot of film, and matured a lot as a quarterback."

The season ahead won't be any easier for Hill and the Herd. In a three-week span, Marshall will face two nationally ranked teams in Ohio State, Georgia and then defending Mid-American Conference champions Miami of Ohio. Playing top 10 teams isn't anything new for the Herd. Marshall defeated sixth-ranked Kansas State 27-20 last year in Kansas.

"We have a real tough schedule in September," Hill said. "We're going to have to come ready to play, but I think we'll be fine."

Playing top 10 teams isn't anything new for the Herd. Marshall defeated sixth-ranked Kansas State 27-20 last year in Kansas. Hill's injury forced him to miss that game, but he knows wins over ranked opponents will let other teams see that the Herd is for real.

"It just shows teams like Ohio State and Georgia that we can play with them," Hill said.

This is the final season for the Herd in the MAC, and Hill said it is because of this that this year's team has a bull's-eye on its back.

"With us leaving the MAC, they don't want us to go out with a MAC championship because we will have bragging rights forever," Hill said. "It's just a given that every team is gunning for us. They want what we have; they want the rings."

This year, the talk of the team seems to be the defense, but that doesn't mean the Herd won't have any offense. Returning with Hill this season will be senior running back Earl Charles, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, and senior standout wide receiver Josh Davis. Hill said he just has to get the ball to either one of them and let them do the rest.

"My job is to get the ball to Josh Davis and to Earl [Charles] and let them make the plays," Hill said.

Hill said that he and Davis have a connection and it helps knowing Davis is his go-to guy.

"It's a real joy for me to have a receiver like that to throw to," Hill said. "We have a real good connection, and we feed off each other."

The pressure might be more for Hill because he is following in the footsteps of former Herd quarterbacks Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich, but Hill said he just plays his style of football.

"I'm definitely not Chad and I'm definitely not Byron," Hill said. "We all have totally different playing styles. You can't ever go out there and play like them. You have to play your own ball and try to learn what they taught you."

Hill said the team will build on last season's big games and will look to the upcoming season with big expectations.

"I don't think anyone is going to overlook us this year, and we're going to be a force to reckon with," Hill said.

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