Hanshew: Expect Bowling Green to join latest 'Wildcat' trend
HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University can anticipate a heavy dose of football's latest trend Saturday night.
Call it the "Wildcat," "Racehorse" or whatever, Bowling Green will bring the look that has spilled to the National Football League. Running backs or receivers line up in shotgun formation, offering a differing schemes and allowing the skill position player to either run or pass.
Those duties fall on Bowling Green wideout Freddie Barnes. The 6-foot, 206-pound senior leads the nation with 25 receptions and also has rushed for 28 yards on four carries.
Thundering Herd defenders certainly will be eyeing No. 7 Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Kickoff between Marshall (1-1, 0-0 Conference USA) and the Falcons (1-1, 0-0 Mid-American Conference) is 7 p.m. WSAZ will televise the game.
"He's an ex-quarterback and he's the 'Racehorse' guy when they get in the 'Wildcat' formation," Thundering Herd head coach Mark Snyder said. "He is a guy that we looked at here when we first got here. I think he's a little bit faster than people think, watching him on film.
"We know they run a spread or hurry up offense. What does that force you to do defensively? Well we gotta get lined up. That's why we talked about simplifying."
Regularly a portion of that approach involves no-huddle drives. Virginia Tech didn't showcase the "Wildcat" during last week's 52-10 victory over Marshall, but often upped the tempo, leading to 605 total yards.
"Virginia Tech shocked us a bit," Snyder said. "They came out with some hurry, hurry on us and that's just not their M.O. After every big play they had they ran a power into the boundary. That's good coaching and we didn't overcome it.
"You know you're going to get it from the spread teams and you know it's coming. But conventional, what I call typical Big 10 power teams like a Virginia Tech, that was a nice move on their part. They came out smart after that loss to Alabama."
FALCONS' LEADING TACKLER SUSPENDED: Bowling Green head coach Dave Clawson announced Tuesday that senior safety P.J. Mahone has been suspended indefinitely from the team, according to published reports. No other details were provided.
Mahone led the team with 95 tackles last season and was second on the team with three interceptions and third with seven pass breakups. Through two games this season, he leads the team with 21 tackles.
PRIME TIME: Marshall fans preferring night games welcome Saturday's 7 p.m. kickoff. Such starts largely have been replaced by 4:30 p.m. starts in recent seasons.
"Well, I think the fans have more time to tailgate and the atmosphere is just a little more festive," Snyder said. "Night games, I don't care where they are across the country, they just seem to be a little bit more festive. Usually there is a lot more tailgating going on."
Bowling Green players anticipate a raucous crowd, but are well prepared. The Falcons led 20-6 in the second half at Missouri before 65,401 in attendance, but lost 27-20.
"Our first two games have been at that time so we're pretty prepared for it," Barnes said. "We don't really think about that.
"We focus on what's in our locker room. If you focus on that, you get off track.
"As a captain, I try to tell that to the team -- don't worry about those things. We've got a good senior class that keeps the team focused."
Anthony Hanshew covers Marshall football for The Herald-Dispatch. He can be reached at 304-526-2766. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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