Thundering Herd looking to #8216;phase#039; out Blazers

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.- Beating the UAB Blazers is as easy as one, two, three phases of the game.

Which won't be easy, according to Marshall first-year head coach Mark Snyder.

&#8221It's hard to be consistent week in and week out and have all three phases (offense, defense, the kicking game) clicking,“ Snyder said.

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&#8221But two or three times a year, every good football team has a game where they put all three phases together. UAB is a good, good football team and this would be a great week to put all three phases together.“

Alabama-Birmingham is 3-1, the only loss 17-10 at Tennessee. The Blazers were picked second in the preseason poll behind Southern Mississippi to win the Conference USA title.

Marshall (2-3) is coming off a 41-14 loss at No. 3-ranked Virginia Tech. Like Tech with quarterback Marcus Vick, UAB features a multi-talented quarterback in Darrell Hackney.

&#8221Hackney is throwing the ball extremely well, too. The one thing that he's not showing is he stays in the pocket a little bit longer than (Vick) does,“ Snyder said. &#8221They're more of a passing team, run second. The backs are solid.“

While UAB is a passing team, Snyder wants Marshall to show a more balanced attack against the Blazers' defense.

Last week, quarterback Bernie Morris was 14 of 28 passing for 117 yards and running back Ahmad Bradshaw ran 22 times for 99 yards and a touchdown.

However, Bradshaw has just 275 yards rushing on the season on 71 carries. Morris is 78 of 136 passing for 791 yards and three interceptions.

Hiram Moore is the Herd's leading receiver with 28 catches for 364 yards.

&#8221We want to be balanced. We want to be able to take what the defense gives us. That's what we're working toward. We need to throw the ball efficiently, we also need to run the ball efficiently,“ Snyder said.

&#8221Our goal is to become very, very balanced and be able to do what the defense allows us to do.“

A balanced offense will held negate the Blazers' defense led by defensive end Larry McSwain.

&#8221McSwain is good. He's real good. And their DBs (defensive backs)

are real, real aggressive. They're very aggressive which can be good and bad, but that's the reason they are creating turnovers. You have to pick your poison, so to say,“ Snyder said.

Marshall will honor former Herd All-American center Frank &#8221Gunner' Gatski during homecoming ceremonies by retiring his No. 72 jersey.

Gatski played in 11 NFL championships, winning eight. He played with the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions and is the only Marshall player ever inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.