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Thundering Herd start first week of practice

By Brad Myers, The Parthenon
August 13, 2004
(U-WIRE) HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- In just the first week of practice, the Marshall Thundering Herd are looking like a team with something to prove.

Although the players are only wearing helmets and shoulder pads, the smacks and pops of full contact can be heard from Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The team is using this first week of practice to get back into the swing of things. Head coach Bob Pruett says despite the lack of heat, the players are still getting a good workout.

"I thought we'd have a little more heat, but I think our conditioning has been pretty good and guys are working hard," Pruett said. "We're using this first week for retention and eliminating mental error."

Marshall starting quarterback Stan Hill says the team is working hard and is already coming together.

"The team is looking good and our offense is looking great," Hill said.

Hill said the team will use the first week to get back to basics before adding in all the plays.

"We're just getting in the basic offense," Hill said. "You've got to start and then just add on. It will just keep progressing week after week."

Returning senior wide receiver Josh Davis agrees with Hill that the Herd's offense is coming along. Davis says the team's intensity and competition helps everyone get better.

"You've got a lot of intensity out here," Davis said. "There's a lot of competing out here, and we're just trying to make each other better."

This year's team will have strong leadership with 27 returning seniors. The players are hoping all this experience will lead to wins this season.

"We have 27 seniors this season, and most of them are starting," Davis said. "We have a lot of talent on this team, and we'll have a great season this year."

The talk surrounding this year's team is the defense, and according to Hill, they're already playing as if there was a game this weekend.

"Our defense is getting hyped, and it's bringing our offense up," Hill said. "Our defense is one of the most intense defenses I've ever seen. They fly to the ball and they're yelling. They play in-your-face defense, and that's the way to play."

And while it's still early in the season, Herd players and coaches both agree on one thing. They say with the tough schedule ahead, they need students and fans to come out and support the Herd all season long.

"We've got a super challenge," Pruett said. "Our first five or six ballgames are very tough for us. We need the fans' support. With their help, maybe we can have a good season."

Hill said he hopes this season Herd fans will sell-out games and create the type of atmosphere that the players can thrive on.

"We need to have some sell-out games," Hill said. "Since I've been here, I've only seen one sell-out game. I encourage the students to come to every game, and get up there in the stands and get wild and crazy. That's what it's all about. We have one of the best stadiums in the MAC when all of our fans are here."

Davis said Herd fans could actually help Marshall win games by getting into the opponents head.

"When we go into Miami [of Ohio] and other places, the crowd will be nagging at us," Davis said. "That's what they need to do. If the fans can get the opponents mind off of the game, then that will help us."

Marshall's season begins Sept. 4 with a home match up against Troy State. The Trojans upset the Herd last season 33-24 in Alabama.
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