Marshall fans need to stay patient with team

Published 9:38 am Monday, October 6, 2008

A familiar, yet short, prayer: “Dear God, I pray for patience. And I want it right now. Amen.”

Walking off James F. Edwards Field Friday night at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, a select group of fans began chanting, “Fire Snyder.” They were, of course, referring to Marshall Thundering Herd head football coach Mark Snyder.

The fans were upset at the second straight poor performance by the Herd. After a 27-3 loss at West Virginia the previous Saturday, Marshall fell 33-10 to Cincinnati.

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But before the mob swells and the “Hang ’Em High” mentality settles in, look at the situation with less emotion and more pragmatism.

Before the season began, Snyder said the Herd would be better than last season when they began 0-7 before winning three of their final five games. He also said that next year the Herd would really start to show some improvement.

The stunning, unexpected win at Southern Mississippi followed by the losses to WVU and UC only verified what Snyder meant. Marshall will beat teams they should beat, compete better and maybe slip past some of the better teams, and hope to compete with the really strong teams on their schedule.

Marshall beat Illinois State and Memphis as expected, and beat Southern Miss in a game they could easily win or lose. The losses have been to three teams expected to be among the nation’s elite.

While the Herd is faster and more talented, they are still young an inexperienced at a lot of key spots.

Redshirt quarterback Mark Cann has played well in three games and poorly in the other three.

I bet you can guess which games were which.

Cann is going to struggle against good teams. This is his first season as a college player. He will get better, even as this season goes along. Believe me, if one of the other quarterbacks could do a better job, he would be in there.

An understandably disheartened Snyder was sitting around a couple of people after the West Virginia game and he remarked “we just aren’t there yet. We’re getting closer, but we’re not there yet.”

Snyder’s right. The team has added speed and the next step is to not only keep the speed coming, but get more size and power, especially in the trenches.

The four years of probation and loss of 16 scholarships really hurt the program, and playing in Conference USA is more difficult on a week-to-week basis.

Snyder deserves some time to fix someone else’s blunders. And he will fix it, but the fans just need to have a little patience.

And they need it right now.

–– Sinatra ––