Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
Opinions are growing faster than the grass.
- On a beautiful Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, “Huff’s Herd” scrimmaged for the first time.
The reference, of course, is to new Marshall University head football coach Charles Huff, who led players through the first scrimmage of his tenure as the leader of the Herd.
As usual, there were highlights, low-lights and in-between lights.
The pace was the most noticeable aspect of the new regime. Granted, it is nowhere near the pace Huff wants to establish. In his mind, the pace is “WAY to slow.”
But compared to what Marshall fans have grown accustomed to watching during the last four seasons, it resembled a sprint.
And that is very good for Thundering Herd faithful.
On both sides of the ball, the offensive and defensive paces were noticeably accelerated as they shift to Huff’s dynamic. Were they fast enough? Not yet. But it’s still early.
As usual, there were ups and downs. Offensively, redshirt freshman running back Rasheen Ali, a 6-foot, 197-pound native of Cleveland, Ohio, stood out. Besides making a nice touchdown run, Ali also was impressive on kickoff returns.
Wide receiver Talik Keaton also shined. The 6-foot, 188-pound redshirt sophomore was quarterback Grant Wells’ favorite target during the Saturday session.
Perhaps, the aspect that stands out the most is the play of Marshall’s secondary. No more 10-yard cushions. No more grabbing wideouts and getting pass interference penalties just to save a touchdown.
That philosophy is gone, thank goodness.
Now, it’s press coverage. Now, it’s tight man-to-man. And, according to Huff, the secondary won more than its share of the battles, which is encouraging.
Junior cornerback Steven Gilmore stood out, picking off a pass. But young defensive backs such as redshirt freshman safety Kerion Martin and sophomore safety E.J. Jackson also made some nice plays.
The most memorable moment of the scrimmage didn’t come from a player, though. That likely came when the calm, cool Huff exploded over a particularly egregious mistake by yanking off his hat and throwing it, while issuing a tongue-lashing.
We’ve witnessed the composed, eloquent side of Huff on several occasions, but it was nice that the fiery competitiveness boiled to the surface for the first time.
The Herd is making progress all the way around.
- Former West Virginia University All-American defensive back Tykee Smith’s decision to commit to the University of Georgia certainly ranked as no surprise.
Everybody could see it coming 100 yards away.
When former Mountaineer secondary coach Jahmile Addae departed to accept a similar position at Georgia, it was strictly a matter of time until Smith joined his former coach.
Nobody is to blame.
- WVU star basketball guard Deuce McBride’s statement about declaring for the 2021 NBA Draft raised more than a few eyebrows.
“First off I would like to thank God because without him none of this would be possible,” read the statement. “From the first time I picked up a basketball my dream has been to one day be in a position to play in the NBA.
“After conversations with my family and WVU coaching staff, I have decided that I will be declaring for the 2021 NBA Draft. Thank you to everyone that has helped me get to this point, I’m excited to go through this process!!”
Notice any mention of a possible return to the Mountaineers?