Two questions have been on the minds of Marshall fans since the Thundering Herd’s 27-24 overtime loss to Southern Miss last week.

One, what is the status of quarterback Bernie Morris, who left in the third quarter with an injury to his right foot?

Two, is there anyone on the team who can kick a football through the uprights?

Coach Mark Snyder addressed both issues Monday on the Conference USA coaches teleconference.

Snyder said Morris is now walking without the aid of crutches. The 6-foot-4, 206-pound sophomore injured a toe on a run out of bounds against the Golden Eagles.

Morris was held out of practice Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.

“If I had to take a stab in the dark ... he will come back to practice Wednesday,” Snyder said.

Senior Jimmy Skinner filled in for Morris and helped march the Herd 93 yards on what looked to be a game-winning drive. But true freshman David DeFatta, playing his first collegiate game, had a 24-yard field goal blocked after a bad snap to set up overtime.

DeFatta then drilled a 27-yard attempt into the left upright, allowing Southern Miss to win on a 34-yard field goal by Brandon McCaleb.

Which leads to the kicking question. DeFatta was kicking because Snyder had lost confidence in junior placekicker Ian O’Connor. His miss on a 47-yarder in the first quarter was his seventh failed attempt in 12 tries this season.

DeFatta actually connected on a 22-yard field goal in the third quarter, but his two late misses were magnified.

“All we can do is keep working on it,” Snyder said. “It is a part of football. You have to be able to kick off and you have to be able to kick it through the uprights. I don’t know how much more we can do based on what we have done so far.”

Scoring a few more touchdowns in the red zone would certainly alleviate some of the kicking problem. Marshall, which hosts ECU in its final home game at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, has scored on 22 of 32 trips (68.8 percent) inside the 20 — last in C-USA.

Snyder also said using punter Marty Biagi to kick field goals is not an option.

“Marty is too valuable as the punter for us right now,” Snyder said.

“We’ve heated (practices) up and we will continue to heat them up over the next few days. Whoever has the better week will be our field goal kicker.”

— E-mail: gfauber@


This Week's Circulars