Marshall football: Dobson among the hobbling Herd
HUNTINGTON - There's a chance another Marshall football team captain could be on the sideline for Saturday's 4:30 p.m. game at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Marshall Coach Doc Holliday classified senior wide receiver Aaron Dobson as "questionable" for the Thundering Herd's game against the Blazers (CSS/WVAH). Dobson, a preseason all-Conference USA pick, was injured on the Herd's first snap from scrimmage in its 38-28 win over Memphis and spent the rest of the game on the sideline with a brace on his right knee.
Dobson has started every game this season and 36 in his career.
He is second on the team in catches (53) and receiving yards (618) with two touchdowns. If he's forced to sit, he joins senior defensive captain and linebacker Devin Arrington, who was injured in the loss to the University of Central Florida and is still a couple weeks from returning.
If anything softens the blow of losing a player like Dobson, it was the play of Davonte Allen and Demetrius Evans, who stepped up in Dobson's place to make some big catches against Memphis.
"One of the things I was really pleased with, when Dobson gets hurt, you had (Allen and Evans) that hadn't played a lot go in there and get 11 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns. They had to step up and get the production we were getting out of Dobson and that happened."
Holliday also said he should have all three of his corners - Derrick Thomas, Monterius Lovett and Keith Baxter, Jr. - for the UAB game. Baxter dressed, but sat against Memphis with an arm injury. Holliday was impressed with the way Lovett and Thomas performed, even though both were banged up as well.
"They had 13 opportunities to make plays in that game and they made 12 of them," Holliday said. "Neither one of them practiced all week."
* * *
ONE PLACE where injuries do damage that many don't think about is special teams, Holliday said. As normal special teamers get hurt and need replaced, it forces players not used to that job to step in.
"You've got guys banged up and that's where it gets you," he said. "You've got three corners that are normally on special teams but they're not on there because they're not practicing. That's where it shows up."
Some of those replacements played pretty well. Running backs Kevin Grooms and Steward Butler joined the kickoff team and Grooms recorded two tackles, while Butler notched one.
"What you have to do is you have to get athletes in there," Holliday said. "You're going to see Stew and you're going to see Grooms. We've got to get our best people on there."
* * *
SPECIAL TEAMS could be a factor in Saturday's game, considering the chances UAB has taken during the year. The Blazers have blocked two punts, one returned for a touchdown against Ohio State, and one extra point. They've also recovered three of the five onside kicks they've tried this season.
"I was with (Ohio State coach) Urban (Meyer) a long time, and I don't think he's ever had a punt blocked and an onside kick against him in the same game, and that happened against UAB," Holliday said. "One thing we have to do is be extremely well-coached in all phases."
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at email@example.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall.