Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MARSHALL FOOTBALL ; Herd Hungry to Build Momentum

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MARSHALL FOOTBALL ; Herd Hungry to Build Momentum

Article excerpt

MARSHALL AT FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL When: 7 p.m., Saturday TV: American Sports Network Latest line: Marshall by 3

MIAMI - So the big question for Saturday night's Marshall- Florida International game is this: Which 3-7 team will be more interested? Is it the Thundering Herd, coming off a refreshing 25- point victory over Middle Tennessee?

Could be. Coach Doc Holliday and his team are no longer concerned that the Herd was eliminated from bowl contention with three weeks to spare. They're just looking to improve, and have a little fun along the way.

"You just want to get better as a team, Holliday said. "You want to go out every week and practice, and work hard to get better. The young guys need to continue to get better.

Yes, the young guys. Whether they be juniors or freshmen - or even a senior, in the case of safety Corey Neely - they showed their hunger last week.

The Herd (3-7 overall, 2-4 Conference USA) will try for its first winning streak of the season against the Panthers (3-7, 3-3) at 7 p.m. at FIU Stadium, with American Sports Network televising.

Among the resurgent Herd players who bear watching:

Running back Anthony Anderson: Thought to have disappeared from the radar in the Herd's four-back rotation, he became the Herd's first 100-yard rusher last week.

Running back Tony Pittman: Gaining 88 yards on 15 carries last week, he continues to be the unsung man in the backfield rotation. His 6.5-yard average leads the team, and he is serving as a team captain for the third week in a row.

Offensive linemen A.J. Addison and Alex Locklear: They were the two men filling out a seven-man rotation on the interior front last week, as coaches decided to give them a full shot. Addison has been there before, but Locklear is new at game-on-the-line play.

Locklear, a Spring Valley High product, is a testament to the value of working during the season even if your number is not yet called.

"I thought, to be honest, it may have happened a little sooner, offensive coordinator Bill Legg said of Locklear's readiness. "But he missed a couple games because of injuries. [Locklear played on the field goal protection unit.] That kind of set him back a little bit.

"He's got the ability to be an outstanding player. His experience, decision making. One thing to be out here in practice and run the same formation six times in a row. & In a game, you don't necessarily do that. You're in one formation this play, a different formation the next play, and so on and so on.

"For those two positions on the offensive line, because there are so many decisions that have to be made in a short period of time, and then you have to still be able to play fast. It doesn't always happen overnight.

Quarterback Chase Litton: Give the quarterback all the blame you want for the Herd's 2-7 start; that's what he signed up for. …

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