By Rasheed Marshall | 4:54 a.m. Thursday
Former West Virginia quarterback -- and Pittsburgh native -- Rasheed Marshall spent 2001-04 in Morgantown attempting to manufacture seven points on each drive for the WVU offense. Each Thursday only at 'Eers to the Ground, Marshall, a personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach in Pittsburgh now, gives his take to the Post-Gazette's Colin Dunlap on 7 points pertinent to Mountaineers football:
Point 1 - I wrote something earlier this week that some people in Morgantown feel Noel Devine's numbers seem to prove he should be a Heisman candidate. How do you feel about this?
Rasheed Marshall - I'm actually nuetral on this. I really feel like Noel has done a great job up to this point in the season, but at the same time I don't how I feel about him being considered for the Heisman Trophy at this point in time. Noel is an explosive player who has no problem with breaking of big plays at any given time; there just needs to be more of them. Along with that, to actually jump up in the running for the Heisman he would probably have to really finish out the season going for no less that 100 yards each game along with another 200 yarder somewhere in there and continue scoring touchdowns. I think that will really help him jump into the national spotlight and give him the recognition he needs to be look upon as a Heisman candidate.
Point 2 - Your gut feeling: Is this the final year for Noel Devine in Morgantown? Is he leaving for the NFL after this season?
Rasheed Marshall - If I had to guess I would probably say yes. Especially if he stays healthy and his numbers stay up throughout the rest of the season. I don't know what's going through his mind right now but this is what I'm thinking if I were him. I'm having a good year, I hear the buzz surrounding the next level, If I did return I'll have a new quarterback to get used to playing with for the the third time in my career and most importantly the financial stability. The NFL is not guaranteed to anybody but you make a lot more money than you do playing in that league than what you monthly stipend from West Virginia University is. The money is appealing and now that the NFL has the draft committee that can give you an idea of where you may be selected it's making some players decisions a little easier on whether they should stay or go.
Point 3 - South Florida went from being a BCS contender to a team fighting just to make a bowl in the span of about 11 days. Tell me, where do you think that team is from a mental standpoint? They are still dangerous, right?
Rasheed Marshall - I think that just like any other team, they are still gonna fight to the end. No team wants to go out as losers and they are still going to go out each day and practice and still going to play hard in games. Especially this one. West Virginia has a lot of Florida natives who I'm sure know some of these guys on South Florida's roster and vice versa. Some probably even played against each other in high school. So that will add some kick to it as well and the game is being played at USF.
Point 4 - Is having South Florida in the conference good for the league's overall health? Would you rather see a team in the Northeast part of the country in the league instead, or does the Big East need a presence in the state of Florida because of what it does for recruiting for all the teams.
Rasheed Marshall - I think this goes back all the way to Miami, Virginia Tech and BC leaving the Big East. Florida is a great football state. We all know that. Trying to replace Miami, who was a talented team at the time, with USF just isn't going to get it. I think it supports the knock on the Big East by saying its a watered down conference with only WVU, Cincinnati and part of Pitt holding the conference together. As far as the recruiting goes, it pays off for a team like West Virginia who heavily recruits players from that state.
Point 5 - My email inbox has been getting more and more messages from people who have been very critical of Nate Sowers. The messages all take the same tone - that he isn't athletic enough to be out there as a starter and is the player holding the defense back. Your thoughts?
Rasheed Marshall -- I haven't studied Nate that hard enough to say if he has what it takes to be out there as a starter or not. From what I have seen of Nate it's been all good. I'm sure I'll watch him a little more closely since this seems to be a big question mark by the fans. One thing I can say is that on that team and with those coaches, if you don't belong out there, you wont be out there. So I'm sure the coaching staff has evauluated him enough to know that he's their guy.
Point 6 -- Tell me who USF quarterback B.J. Daniels reminds you of the most and why?
Rasheed Marshall -- I can't say that B. J. Daniels reminds me of any particular player. He does remind me of a lot of young players who will experience succces but at the same time will see those cloudy days where nothing seems to go right. It's really a roller coaster ride and with two tough back to back loses; the roller coaster is taking a big drop at the moment. Look for the struggles to continue Friday night against the Mountaineers. While South Florida has quality athletes, over the past two games they have just seemed to not be able to pull things together on offense.
Point 7 - The Mountaineers play USF at Raymond James Stadium, the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Did you like playing in NFL stadiums like that place and Heinz Field, or did you prefer on-campus sites?
Rasheed Marshall -- I really liked playing in the professional stadiums, but then it depended on the team we were playing. I remember playing Temple at Veterans Stadium as a Sophomore and it was absolutely horrible. There might've been 50 people in the whole stadium with 49 of them WVU fans. The other person was probably some guy who didn't have anything else to do that day and decided to come to the game. Heinz Field was always a great place to play but you can't leave out the traditional on-campus stadiums like Mountaineer Field and Lane Stadium.
An extra point - Have you been paying attention to what Dion Lewis has been doing at Pitt? I'm putting you on the spot - you are starting a college football team tomorrow and get to choose one halfback. Who do you take; Devine or Lewis?
Rasheed Marshall -- Wow...if that's not on the spot then I don't know what is. You can't go wrong with neither one of these guys and you have to respect both of these guys for what they are doing this season. But the way things have been for a long time, it's all about who you know. Since I know Noel he's gonna be the lucky pick as my running back. Besides that, there's no way I can let a Mountaineer take the back seat to a Panther. (I guess that's a true example of politics in sports.)
Rasheed Marshall, also a former NFL player, is a certified strength and conditioning coach and an NCCPT Certified Personal Trainer in Pittsburgh who can implement a workout program for the casual athlete but also works one-on-one or in a group setting to refine football skills for the serious football player of any age. Rasheed works to maximize the potential of athletes by incorporating position specific skill development, speed and agility training and a strength and conditioning program where you get results.