The 2007 season proved to be a tough one for the Marshall Thundering Herd football program as they dropped their first seven games in a row. Towards the end of the season, the team managed to go .500 over the last 4 games, defeating a stronger East Carolina team, as well as Rice University.
Although the team finished 3-9, many younger players were on the field, and gained valuable playing time for next season. There will be lots of returning starters with more experience under their belt for the 2008 campaign. In addition, the coaching staff has been busy recruiting at the junior college level to help bolster the rooster with junior and senior players. Acquisitions were made on both sides of the line with two players for each side.
Charles Walker, a 5’10” wide receiver, touts 4.4 speed in the 40 yard dash will add needed speed to the receiving corps. Charles caught 11 touchdowns last season for Laney College with 1100 receiving yards and 56 receptions.
Also, a 325 lbs. offensive tackle named Jimmy Rogers is expected to join the team. Jimmy played at Mississippi Delta Community College in Moorhead, MS and is said to possess good footwork for his size.
On defense, more speed was added with the signing of Josh Miller. Josh possesses 4.37 speed and will have two years of playing eligibility left at Marshall.
At linebacker, Andre Portis, originally hailing from Cleveland, Ohio should see some action next year. Andre played at the College of San Mateo last season, and is rated as one of the top 5 linebackers at the Junior College level by Rivals.com.
The big question that still remains to be answered for Marshall is who will lead the team on offense next season. There are several possible candidates to start quarterback. Most likely, it will be Brian Anderson, who saw limited backup action in 2007 behind Bernard Morris. Other candidates include: Wes Beardain, Mark Cann, Chris Smith and Jonathan Garner.
Marshall plays a tough 2008 non-conference schedule to start the season, facing three BCS quality programs in Wisconsin, Cincinnati, and the big interstate rival West Virginia University. The toughest game will probably be the road trip up to Wisconsin, which sports one of the tougher venues for visitors. In addition, Marhsall will play Illinois State at home to kick off the season’s non conference play.
The game that all West Virginia football fans will have there eye on is the Sept. 13th match-up in Morgantown. The Mountaineers will be have undergone a considerable transition by the time the game rolls around, with the loss of Coach Rich Rodriguez, and Steve Slayton, and possibly Pat White. Most of the other key players for the Mountaineers will be in place, and they posses considerable depth when matching up with the Marshall players.
The Marshall Thundering Herd should fair better in conference play for 2008. East Carolina will be looking to avenge a late season loss from the 2007 season, as will University of Alabama-Birmingham. With plenty of returning starters for 2008, games within the conference should be more evenly matched.