Notes: Herd switches TV association
HUNTINGTON - Marshall's association with WSAZ-TV, Channel 3 has ended after 16 years, with local television rights moving to WCHS-TV, Channel 8.
MU officials have yet to announce the move, but IMG College, the athletic department's multimedia rights holder, has reached a deal with WCHS to air the weekly shows featuring football coach Doc Holliday and basketball coach Tom Herrion.
Also, WCHS can air live MU games as opportunities arise. Last season, WSAZ picked up games also airing on Comcast Sports Southeast, making them available to viewers in the Charleston-Huntington market served by cable systems other than Comcast.
WSAZ hasn't always had TV game rights - those went to West Virginia Media and WOWK early in Marshall's Conference USA era - but has aired the coach's shows continuously since 1996. WSAZ aired a number of games on a local basis in the 1990s through 2004 and a few in recent years.
"Personally and professionally, it's extremely disappointing," said sportscaster Keith Morehouse. "I've covered every Marshall football game [in some capacity] since 1996, and it's unfortunate."
MU's current contract with IMG College brings an infusion of roughly $1.3 million per year, with several improvements at Joan C. Edwards Stadium and Cam Henderson Center a side benefit.
Marshall's safety position appears to be pretty deep, even after the departure of Zach Dunston.
The team announced Monday that Dunston, a 6-foot, 201-pound junior from Virginia Beach, Va., left the Thundering Herd program. There was no further comment from coach Doc Holliday.
Dunston played six games last year, starting none, and was credited with a quarterback hurry and a blocked kick. The latter was critical - it allowed the Herd to take a 13-10 lead in the fourth quarter of the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg, a game MU went on to win 20-10.
Duston attended MU's media day Monday, posting a picture on Twitter with Darryl Roberts. That was to be his last function in a kelly green jersey, though.
One of the reasons he left isn't a mystery. MU added former Boston College safeties Dominick LeGrande and Okechukwu Okoroha, and they have played on the first unit all through camp. D.J. Hunter and Point Pleasant native Derek Mitchell have generally played on the second team, with Dunston on the third unit.
As Dunston fades from the scene, defensive end Alex Bazzie refuses to go away. To the contrary, the 6-2, 225-pound junior from Silver Spring, Md., via Fork Union Military Academy, continues his quest to start opposite Jeremiah Taylor.
He is battling 6-4, 234-pound sophomore Ra'Shawde Myers, with redshirt freshman Armonze Daniel trying to get on the two-deep at either end. Daniel was limited in Monday's two practices.
Bazzie helped his stock at the Herd's early scrimmage last weekend with seven tackles, including three sacks (those were just tags, with quarterbacks protected from contact).
"When I got here, he was a walk-on that didn't have much of a chance," Holliday said. "He got himself on the [traveling squad] bus and played on special teams and worked his way into it. I'm proud of what he's done."
In the morning session of the preseason camp's first two-practice day, defensive tackle Jarquez Samuel lay motionless on the turf for a few minutes after a play. He eventually got up and walked off under his own power, but was finished for the day.
"He's fine. Give him a day or two, he'll be ready to go," Holliday said.
Defensive linemen Steve Dillon and Marcus Gilchrist returned to full practice in the afternoon session, which was in shoulder pads and shorts. Holliday expects tight end C.J. Crawford back soon, and said a shoulder injury to cornerback A.J. Leggett is minor.
Speaking of cornerbacks, Roberts is closer to recovery, as he was no longer sporting an orthopedic boot.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.