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Marshall making bid for QB job

by Greg Talkington

SPORTS WRITER

MORGANTOWN -- With a pair of highly touted prep quarterbacks set to roll into town come August, West Virginia redshirt freshman Rasheed Marshall knows his time to impress the new WVU coaching staff is now.

Apparently, he's making the most of the opportunity.

Although head coach Rich Rodriguez said incumbent Brad Lewis is slightly ahead in the quarterback race, he mentioned Marshall prominently following last Friday's scrimmage.

"Rasheed Marshall is starting to make a move," Rodriguez said. "He got some work with the first team today (Friday) and he performed quite well."

Marshall directed the first team to its only score of the afternoon. His passing and running accounted for 74 yards during a 14-play, 94-yard march which he capped with a 14-yard scoring run, reminiscent of the kind of running his uncle, Major Harris, used to display in a Mountaineer uniform.

For the day, he completed 7 of 11 passes for 78 yards and ran for 26 yards on seven carries.

"I think I did pretty well out there," Marshall said. "There's always room for improvement and correction though.

"But it was a good experience. There's nothing better than getting into a competition with the first-team defense."

Rodriguez said when winter conditioning started that every position was up for grabs. Marshall has taken the new coach at his word.

"Yeah, definitely," Marshall replied, when asked if he thought the No. 1 job was open. "That's the main thing and that's what every player is shooting for on this team.

"Everybody wants to compete and everybody wants to get out on the field. If we keep that up, everybody will be pretty good, regardless of if he's first team, second team or even third team."

With his performance Friday, Marshall may have snuck past last season's backup, Scott McBrien, into the No. 2 slot.

But Rodriguez cautioned that the aforementioned three, plus redshirt freshman Derek Jones, are all still too close.

"This is causing a dilemma for Coach (quarterbacks coach Bill) Stewart and myself," Rodriguez said. "Usually after a couple of weeks, two or at least three guys have kind of separated themselves.

"But right now, none of them have and that's good in a way, because all four of them have done a good job of learning the system so far."

Rodriguez said that will have to change once the players return from Spring Break, April 2.

"We've got to watch a lot of film, and when they get back, we've got to put them in some pressure situations and see who responds the best," the former Glenville State coach said.

"It's still pretty much wide open at this point."

Marshall plans to be in the mix when it's all said and done.

"We've got a list of packages to go through, so we'll have to get with it when we get back," Marshall said. "But I'm beginning to understand things and it's starting to slow down.

"It's working out pretty good and hopefully, I'll be able to keep up with things and we'll see what happens come fall."

Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at gtalkington@exponent-telegram.com.

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