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C-USA tabs Bradshaw preseason first team

IRVING, Texas — As far as the Conference USA football coaches are concerned, not much has changed.

The 12 C-USA coaches don’t see much of a change this season according to the preseason poll announced Monday.

Central Florida and Tulsa are the top picks in their respective divisions and the teams are predicted to meet in the conference title game.

Marshall, under second-year head coach Mark Snyder, was tabbed fourth in the East Division with 35 points. Central Florida had 65 points, Southern Mississippi 52 and Memphis 43.

“We’re hoping to be better this year, but the schedule is awfully tough,” Snyder said after going 5-6 in his first season.

Alabama-Birmingham and East Carolina round out the division voting.

In the West Division, Tulsa had 61 points, just one more than Texas-El Paso. Houston was followed by Southern Methodist, Tulane and Rice.

Thundering Herd running back Ahmad Bradshaw was the only Marshall player honored on the preseason first team poll.

Bradshaw was a first team selection on offense. He rushed for 997 net yards last season on 214 carries for a 4.7 yards per carry average. He scored nine touchdowns.

He also led the Herd with 56 receptions. His catches generated 381 more yards — third on the team — and a touchdown.

The preseason Offensive Player of the Year pick was Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb, the top defensive player UAB defensive end Larry McSwain, and Southern Miss kicker Darren McCaleb the top special teams player.

The Thundering Herd opens its regular season at in-state rival West Virginia on Sept. 2. Marshall begins C-USA play Sept. 30 at home against Central Florida.

Marshall also plays non-conference games at Kansas State and at Tennessee.