- Lang Bookended Purdue: 7 seconds was all it took for Tiquan to answer my pre-season questions about who was going to step up in our defensive backfield. It would have been an incredible performance with just the one Pick 6 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A9uZS3-AI4 ), but after he bookended them, his second Pick Six will go down in my memory right beside Chad’s final drive at Clemson. But the bookended Pick Sixes weren’t his only contribution. Not taking anything away from Taj Letman’s INT, but that one probably wouldn’t have happened without the pressure that Tiquan put on Appleby. After 2 game changing Pick Sixes and 17 tackles, I was a little shocked when I Herd that Tiquan wasn’t named a captain for the Ohio game. Maybe that is Doc’s way of motivating him to get 3 Pick Sixes this week.
- Thompson and the D Line: one of the problems with living two time zones away is that I don’t always understand what I am reading related to positional changes. For example, just as I didn’t understand how a TE was going to be a TB last year, I didn’t understand why Heater moved Gary Thompson from LB to DE this year…that is until I saw him play. Thompson blew up everything in sight on Sunday. Speaking of blowing things up, my favorite Senior, Steve Dillon, had a great day. I thought our DL did a good job on Sunday. While they didn’t dominate Purdue’s behemoths, they applied consistent pressure and contained Knox better than what I think they got credit for from the commentators (and the prediction of a respected journalist).
- Birdsong and Zone Read Moderation: a hot topic of conversation at the halftime tailgate was Birdsong’s play in the first half. Overall, thought Birdsong had a decent day for his first Herd start. That being said, he called his own number too often with the Zone Read. As one of the TV commentators pointed out, every time he takes off, that is one less carry for Rockhead. When I watched the game on my DVR, I felt even better about Birdsong’s play. He throws a nice tight ball that is very catchable. I think he made good reads for the most part; Legg just needs to work with him on looking off his receivers. He’s going to have a good year.
- WRs and TEs: for the fun factor, I just have to start off by saying “Byrd is the Word” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Gc4QTqslN4). It took me a couple of seconds to figure out who the other 21 was, but once I realized who it was, I was very impressed. He is going to be a nice compliment to Yurachek this season. To be honest, I was a little surprised with the play of the WRs. Davonte Allen had one of his best clutch games on Saturday; without his YAK on the last drive, all of Tiquan’s heroics may have been for nothing. I really appreciate Doc’s recruiting when I see Birdsong use multiple WR and TEs throughout the game; having that many weapons is going to pay off this year.
- Rockhead Utilization: I’m not sure that I understand the utilization or underutilization of Rockhead on Sunday. With the exception of ball security, Rockhead had a solid day. I thought it was interesting that Rockhead was an upback when we were punting; I’m sure other teams will spend some extra time looking at that film in anticipation of what he could do with a short snap. Still seemed odd to me that we put our star player out on special teams (#beamerball). A two TD day is nothing to sneeze at, but I still can’t help but wonder what he could have done if he got more carries on Sunday. Luckily there is a whole season ahead of us.
- Gameday Atmosphere: first off, I thought the intro video was OK. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW6frCZI3QA) I liked the way they integrated the Hall of Fame and the IPF, but it isn’t as good as some of the prior Barnes Agency productions. But we didn’t have to rely on a video to get pumped up for this game. It was great seeing that many fans in the stand (and one Eerdiot…see, “WVU Douche” tag on the Gigapixel…LMAO). I also enjoyed (at least for the first 1,000 or so) the selfies on the big screens, but I hope we show some moderation next time and show more replays of the actual game. With all the positive additions, I had mixed feelings on the elimination of the “official” Thunderclap. Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of the Thunderclap, but I didn’t really like having it “officially” taken away from us either. I thought it was great when a large section of the East stands ignored the “official” posture and Thunderclapped. If there was ever a game to Thunderclap, it was this victory. Finally, with all of the additions and subtractions from the gameday atmosphere, it was the painting of the steps that stood out the most to me.
- Practicing What I Preach: a couple of weeks ago, I had a good conversation with an Eerdiot at Margaritas in August ME. He told me he was originally from Wheeling and spoke eloquently (for an Eerdiot…just kidding Eric) about his passion for West Virginia and how he made an effort to make it to one WVU game per year with his daughter. He noted that he wanted his daughter to go to WVU. In turn, I shared my philosophy that displaced West Virginians need to take their children to West Virginia (preferably Huntington) as often as possible. After spending considerable time in Maine, I warned him that if he doesn’t do that his daughter may end up a Mainer who thought West Virginia was just another place “from away.” For myself, I know that I don’t want my daughter to think of Marshall and Huntington as being just a place that her Dad is from. The good news for me is that I don’t think I have to worry about my daughter after she picked out several items including a T-Shirt at the Emporium that read “Huntington, Home of the Herd.”
- I am the Freak: as the flip side to No. 7 supra, I probably owe an apology to the Big Green Office and some of my friends. While I didn’t say anything to the lady at the Big Green office when I called to give them my Colorado address, I was pretty annoyed when she said “you live in Colorado and you are coming in for all the games?” In my world of focusing on Huntington news and the Herd daily, I was insulted that someone would think I wouldn’t be there. Similarly, I was taken aback when some of my friends chose to go to the beach or stay at their tailgate instead of going to the Joan on Saturday. I just couldn’t fathom why anyone would not get their butts into the Joan. On the flight home on Sunday, I realized that for those who live in Huntington, getting out of Huntington for a vacation is probably just as important to them as getting into Huntington is to me. Moreover, for my friends who stay at their tailgate during the game, I probably should quit asking you if you have a ticket for the game yet. In sum, I realize that I am the freak and I really need to lighten up on my judgement of other Herdfans. Still, I hope that Hamrick’s goal of 30k for each game is met. Oh crap, there I go again; I guess there is no hope for me shaking this I freak tag….sorry.
- Remembering Phil Ratcliff: I was proud to stop by my favorite Huntington eatery, Mancini’s Pizza, on Saturday to purchase T-Shirts in support of Phil Ratcliff’s family. I applaud Josh Perkey and everyone else who helped with this fund raiser. I just wish I didn’t have a reason to hang that T-shirt beside the ones I have for Goddard and JT Rembert. Anyway it was great seeing IM4DHERD, Nick, Tim and Moon Dog there.
- Apollo Deserves Acknowledgement and Support: I ran across an opportunity on the “Tavern Off the Green” forum to help out students in rural WV. It was posted by Apollo, who was one of my dad’s student at Marshall. Apollo is now a science teacher in Lincoln County; he is seeking funding for a conservation course for his middle school students. I personally was moved to give a donation to Apollo’s cause in part because my dad dedicated his career to teaching teachers like Apollo how to reach out to kids in areas like Lincoln County. I hope everyone will take a look at Apollo’s post and consider giving whatever you can at:
On a lighter note, it is processed through a 503(c) organization, so maybe Apollo can indirectly help Greg H next year during tax season (See, Greg H’s “If You Are A Democrat” post on the Stampede board). Seriously, the efforts of people like Josh Perkey and Apollo that make me proud to be a Son of Marshall. Go Herd!!!
In May I took a job in Colorado that has me traveling quite a bit to Maine. As I travel, I always wear my Herd gear and talk to people about the Herd and the University. I’ve also realized that the further I move away from Huntington, the more I think about the Herd and what Huntington means to me. With flying in for every game, I am going to have time to think more about maximizing my time in Huntington and why Huntington is so important to me. So hopefully, I will hit on some topics this year that hit a cord with other displaced Huntingtonians who use Marshall Football games to keep in touch with the community that they consider home. That being said, here are the Ten Things I Think I Know After Purdue:
Thundering in MD