A Good Start: Marshall Football Begins Fall Practices with Questions to Answer

By Bill Cornwell

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall Football has kicked off its fall camp, with the Thundering Herd conducting a closed practice today at 2:15 PM at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Herd third-year head coach Charles Huff expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance during the first practice on Wednesday, stating, “Our summer work carried over really well. Our tempo, staying off the ground, taking care of each other while playing fast. We’ll work on the techniques and fundamentals and make sure guys were communicating the right way.”

The team is bolstered by the return of key defensive leaders, including preseason Sun Belt Conference all-league players Owen Porter, Eli Neal, and Micah Abraham. Huff commended their vocal leadership, which is driving the team’s early success, saying, “You could tell that our leaders took time in practice to remind their teammates to pick it up and keep going. If I don’t have to bark and yell about effort and energy, I can coach on execution and technique, and that’s going to make us so much better as a team.”

Marshall fans are eagerly observing the quarterback situation during fall camp. Huff announced on Tuesday that Cam Fancher currently retains the starting position after leading the team to a five-game winning streak in the 2022 season. Other contenders for playing time at quarterback include redshirt freshmen Cole Pennington and Chase Harrison, along with transfers T.J. McMahon from Rice and Colin Parachek from Morehead State. Huff commented on the potential among the quarterbacks, stating, “Cam needs to keep improving in fall camp. If he does not, he won’t be the starter. Cam is the only guy in the quarterback room with Marshall game experience. I’m excited about the potential among our quarterbacks, and hopefully in the next month, they will be ready to play when the time is right.”

In more preseason honors, Marshall’s senior defensive end Owen Porter and senior cornerback Micah Abraham were named to the 2023 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List by the Football Writers Association of America on Tuesday. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy recognizes the best defensive football player in the country, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America All-America Committee.

Both players played crucial roles in the defense, which finished in the top-20 in FBS last season and contributed to Marshall’s five straight wins. Porter and Abraham were also named preseason all-league performers by Sun Belt Conference coaches.

Porter and Abraham are among the 96 defensive standouts featured on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, with only seven players selected from the Sun Belt Conference. Marshall stands among the 14 teams in FBS with multiple selections on the list.

Additionally, Marshall Athletics will host its Fans First Day – the newly rebranded Fan Day – on Saturday afternoon from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Fans can interact with various teams, including football, volleyball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s cross country, and women’s cross country, with autograph stations and opportunities to engage with student-athletes.

Fans participating in Fans First Day are encouraged to join Marshall Athletics in a school supply drive for local youth. Each fan who brings a school supply item will receive a special ticket for the 2023 football season.

Image Credit: Paul Swann