2011-2012 Football Previews – Conference USA – Marshall Thundering Herd
Doc Holliday took over at the beginning of last year, and the Thundering Herd stumbled out of the gates to sit at 1-6 after their first seven games.
Conference USA 2011-2012 Football Previews: Marshall Thundering Herd
Head Coach: Doc Holliday
2010 Record: 5-7
Marshall Gambling Odds from 5Dimes to win BCS: +30,000
Marshall Odds from 5Dimes to win Conference USA Championship: +3,000
Marshall Odds from 5Dimes to win Conference USA East Division: +1,150
Marshall Team Page – Players Stats – Roster – 2011 Schedule –>
Marshall did bounce back by winning four of their last five games overall.
Holliday came into the program with quite a bit of buzz surrounding him, but the cupboard certainly wasn’t left full for him.
Marshall’s offense was the worst in Conference USA last year, and the team relied on a solid defense to keep them in the game. Inside a conference where teams generally put up 35 or 40 points, Marshall averaged just 20.8 points per game last year.
If the Thundering Herd are going to get on the right track, they’ll need to pick it up offensively.
Marshall’s defensive line is loaded with talent. Vinny Curry is the best of the bunch, and he is one of the best defensive lineman in the conference. Curry picked up 18 tackles for loss last year, and I expect him to be even better this season.
The play of the defensive line helped Marshall hold opponents to just 3.9 yards per carry last year.
Marshall’s secondary returns all four starters from a group that was pretty solid last year. I expect them to up the ante in 2011, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are the best secondary in the conference this season. Omar Brown is a very talented safety that leads this group.
Keep a close eye on DJ Hunter, a former Tennessee recruit, who will likely get a lot of playing time as a freshman.
The quarterback position was a real weakness last year, and I expect more of the same in 2011. Brian Anderson graduated and no one has really stepped up in practices to show that they will be the clear starter.
The running game was absolutely non-existent a year ago, and it’s hard to imagine anything changing that dramatically this season. Marshall’s leading rusher in 2010, Martin Ward, picked up just 345 yards. The offensive line isn’t very good at run blocking, and there really isn’t a star in the backfield to help them out.
Marshall returns seven of their top eight linebackers, but the one they lost was their MVP from last year, Mario Harvey. Harvey was one of the best linebackers in the nation last year, and it will be impossible to replace his production right away.
2011-2012 Marshall Football Prediction: 4-8
I think it will be the same story at Marshall in 2011, a solid defense and a terrible offense. There are far too many question marks on offense to expect this team to turn into an offense that can score points in bunches like most teams in this league.
The schedule is extremely difficult, which makes me think it is more likely this team will take a small step backward this year.
The non-conference schedule has Marshall meeting West Virginia, Ohio, Louisville, and Virginia Tech. The beginning of this team’s schedule is brutal, but if they can get through the first six weeks, they might finish strong again.
It will likely be a disappointing year in Huntington.
2011 Marshall Thundering Herd Schedule
9/4/11 3:30 PM ET @WVIRG
9/10/11 12:00 PM ET SOMIS
9/17/11 12:00 PM ET @OHIO
9/24/11 12:00 PM ET VATCH
10/1/11 12:00 PM ET @LOU
10/8/11 4:00 PM ET @CENFL
10/15/11 12:00 PM ET RICE
10/22/11 12:00 PM ET @HOU
10/29/11 12:00 PM ET UAB
11/12/11 12:00 PM ET @TULSA
11/19/11 12:00 PM ET @MEM
11/26/11 12:00 PM ET ECAR