Meet The Press

Published 1:50 am Friday, August 7, 2009

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Mark Snyder likes the home field advantage. John Shannon likes variety on offense. Rick Minter likes the experience and talent on defense.

If the three Marshall coaches get to see what the like all season, Thundering Herd fans are gonna love it.

Everyone liked what they saw as Marshall held its annual media day on Thursday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

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Speaking of Edwards Stadium, Snyder noted that Marshall has the best winning percentage at home of any major college program at .871 percent (115-17). Alabama is next at .822 (218-46-3) followed by Boise State .809, Fresno State .807, Penn State .805 and South Florida .803.

“This is a hard place to play and we have a good football team back,” said Snyder.

Having a good team means having good players, and Snyder said the Herd has its fair share. Running back Darius Marshall is on the Doak Walker list, tight end Cody Slate is a Mackey Award candidate, and expected to make other awards’ list are defensive end Albert McClellan and linebacker Mario Harvey.

“When you’re getting players on awards’ lists, you’re doing something right. We have a few marquee players and some good players around them,” said Snyder.

Slate has added some bulk strength to his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame. Shannon said the offensive plan is to get the ball in his hands.

“We’ll try to do a lot of things with him. We’ll have a lot of funs,” said Shannon.

Getting the ball to Slate— whether it’s in the one-back, two-back or “racehorse” sets — will be the job of junior quarterback Brian Anderson who has moved ahead of last year’s starter Mark Cann.

“He did a good job in the spring and a great job this summer,” said Shannon.

But regardless of how well the offense plays, Minter emphasized defense as the biggest key to bettering last year’s 4-8 record.

“I do think you win with defense,” said the veteran Minter.

“We had some good production with the core last year. We’re fortunate to have some of those players back. Consistency is the key,” said Minter.

In Conference USA, the East Division is more defensive-minded, playing a more physical style. The West Division prefers a wide-open, high-scoring offensive game.

“It’s fun being in this league. It’s a challenge,” said Miner.

Marshall opens the season at home on Sept.5 against Southern Illinois.