The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

December 17, 2013

Bowl prep has impact on 2014

Marshall still has not completed the 2013 season. That won’t happen for another 10 days, once the Thundering Herd wraps up its battle with Maryland in the Military Bowl.

Bowl games, as coaches often say — count Marshall’s Doc Holliday among them — are rewards for a successful season. As much as the Herd deserves the recognition for its 9-4 season and first-ever Conference USA East Division title, these two weeks can also go a long way toward the 2014 season.

With the extra practices afforded to bowl teams, the ramifications on the next season cannot be understated.

“If you count the week we had for the C-USA championship game and then about 11 or 12 practices before the bowl game, that’s just as many practices as you get for spring ball,” Holliday said Monday in a pre-bowl press conference. “We have about 16-to-17 practices before that bowl game, which is huge. Especially for the young offensive and defensive linemen because those are the ones you can really develop the most.”

Holliday said it is important to send the seniors on the team — he specifically mentioned running back Essray Taliaferro, defensive lineman Alex Bazzie and offensive linemen Alex Schooler and Garrett Scott — out as winners. At the same time, a strong performance against the Terrapins on Dec. 27 would be a springboard to spring ball and even the 2014 season.

“We’re going to take advantage of every minute we have to try to make this team better,” Holliday said.

n n n

The Herd had its annual postseason banquet Sunday night, and several players were recognized for a wide range of accomplishments.

One of them was Beckley native Clint Van Horn, a redshirt sophomore who worked his way into the starting lineup at right tackle Oct. 12 at FAU. Van Horn was given the Chad Pennington Award.

The award obviously is named for Chad Pennington, who became Marshall’s most decorated quarterback and was a first-round draft pick of the New York Jets in 2000.

n n n

Also honored at the banquet was redshirt senior defensive tackle James Rouse, who was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player by his teammates. He was also voted one of five captains for the bowl game, joining quarterback Rakeem Cato, tight end Gator Hoskins, center Chris Jasperse and cornerback Monterius Lovett.

The biggest news for Rouse, however, concerns next season. Rouse will return, granted a medical redshirt and, thus, a sixth season after a career that has been beset by injuries.

“He’s not only a great leader, but has been a great player,” Holliday said. “I can’t think of a guy that deserves it more than he does because the adversity he’s been through and how he fought through it.”

— E-mail: and follow on Twitter @GaryFauber.

Text Only
College Sports
  • Hamrick deserves praise for pursuit of D’Antoni

    Sometimes gambles don’t pay off, but some risks simply have to be taken.

    April 23, 2014

  • WVU post-spring depth chart filled with few surprises

    Although the contents brought about as much of a surprise as a over the hill balloon at a 40th birthday party, there were a few interesting nuggets in the post-spring depth chart that West Virginia University sent out Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • Clutch hitting leads WVU over Marshall

    Junior catcher Cam O’Brien finished  a home run away from the cycle and scored three runs as the WVU baseball team defeated Marshall, 10-3, on Wednesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 23, 2014

  • Gardner improving with broken neck

    Joedy Gardner, a well-known former West Virginia basketball player and coach, is much improved after having broken his neck in Phoenix, Ariz., several months ago.

    April 23, 2014

  • 042314 trickett Mountaineers have benefited from incoming football transfers

    Recruiting in college football seems to get more and more attention every season. Websites like and stalk the high school sidelines and blow up potential recruits’ cell phones in search of the latest information. But there’s one important aspect that often goes ignored — transfers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU baseball pounds Terps

    The offense had 16 hits and sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out six as the West Virginia University baseball team routed Maryland 14-2 on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 22, 2014

  • Crutchfield not interested in Division I job

    You would think Jim Crutchfield would be a great candidate for a head basketball coach’s job at an NCAA Division I university.
    But the Clarksburg native keeps saying that he’s perfectly content in that role at West Liberty, a Division II powerhouse. His 10-year record there is an absolutely amazing 272-49. Significantly, 10 of those defeats came in his first year at the West Liberty helm.

    April 22, 2014

  • Stepping up: Kelly racking up wins for Lions

    Sundays have become red-letter days for Chris Kelly.

    April 22, 2014

  • Paul Popovich, now 73, wishes he were playing baseball today

    If you’re a longtime baseball fan, you may recall Morgantown’s Paul Popovich.

    April 22, 2014

  • Hiring an interim while waiting on D’Antoni would be an injustice

    The search for Marshall’s new men’s basketball coach remained in a holding pattern over the Easter weekend while the Los Angeles Lakers put off their decision on coach Mike D’Antoni’s future until this week.

    April 21, 2014

AP Video