Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Know Your Super Bowl XLII Thundering Herd Alumni: Chris Hanson

No, not Chris Hansen- Chris Hanson, the one-time Pro Bowl punter who is in his first year of ball-booting duty for the Patriots. While Hansen strikes fear into the heart of child molestors everywhere, Hanson strikes fear into the heart of...uh...opposing special teams coaches?

OK, so punting isn't the manliest or most glamorous position in football. So maybe Hanson did injure himself in two of the most hilarious off-the-field incidents while in Jacksonville- spilling scalding fondue on himself in 2002 and sticking an axe in his foot in 2003. The latter incident was a result of Jack Del Rio's team-building practice of chopping away at a stump in the locker room.

But Chris has found a way to get through life making high six-figures annually for punting a football. And that probably landed him more tail than you'll ever see.

So, in the third of a very special five-part series, here is a look back at Hanson's college career.

Chris Hanson

Position: Punter

Hometown: Riverdale, GA

Years at Marshall: 1995-1998

Career Stats: 39.9 yards per punt

Draft: Undrafted (first appeared for Green Bay in 1999)

Years in NFL: 9

There's really not much to mention about Chris's Thundering Herd career. The poor guy probably wasn't drafted because most of his college punting career was defined by, well, not punting.

Even before Hansen was sitting on the sideline in 2007 watching Randy Moss score touchdowns for the Patriots, he was sitting on the sideline watching Randy Moss score touchdowns for Marshall. Chris was the punter for both of Moss's seasons in the green and white.

He would have led I-AA in punting average in 1996, but he DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH ATTEMPTS. And he wasn't hurt or anything that year. The Thundering Herd's offense in its final I-AA season was that good.

Oh yeah, he spent his season (not) punting for Chad Pennington's 12-1 1998 squad.

Best YouTube Clip

Uhh...we don't actually have any of Chris punting so here he is holding for Billy Malasevich as the kicker shuts up some 80,000 Gamecock fans.

Know Your Super Bowl XLII Thundering Herd Alumni: Troy Brown

Ok, so Troy Brown has been on the physically unable to perform list pretty much all season. Yes, his only stat on the season is a muffed punt. But he's still on the roster, and he's still Troy fucking Brown, my first childhood Herd hero.

He's made clutch catches in Super Bowls, earned three Super Bowl rings, returned punts for touchdowns in AFC title games, played in the secondary in playoff games, and even caused a fumble after a Tom Brady interception to help knock the Chargers out of the playofffs.

Here's a look back at the college career of the best teammate and most humble NFL star you could ever meet.

Troy Brown

Position: Wide Receiver

Hometown: Barnwell, SC

Years at Marshall: 1991-1992

Draft: 198th pick (8th round) of 1993 draft by New England Patriots

Years in NFL: 15

Brown was a completely unknown JUCO prospect at one of the best junior colleges in Elk River, North Carolina, Lees-McRae. Luckily, the Herd found him, and he immediately became the star receiver on the team in 1991. I couldn't find any stats from that season so I'm going to say he had 4,500 yards receiving and 77 touchdowns. Give or take a few. In all seriousness, Troy did have a 99-yard TD catch against VMI during the season and helped lead the team to the I-AA national championship game, which they lost 25-17 to sweatervest's Youngstown State team.

Troy had 1,654 yards and 16 TD's in his 1992 senior season. More importantly, he was one of the leaders of the team that won Marshall's first national championship. In the 31-28 rematch against YSU in the title game, Brown caught a crucial 3rd down pass to keep the winning drive alive. In what would be a glimpse into his defensive future with the Patriots, Brown then intercepted Youngstown's hail mary to seal the title.

It's worth mentioning Troy still lives in Huntington during the off-season and does charitable work for the community.

Best YouTube Clip:

The interception. Bonus points for Jim Donnan's awkward reaction to the kiss given to him from a random fan.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Know Your Super Bowl XLII Thundering Herd Alumni: Ahmad Bradshaw

While those not too familiar with the Thundering Herd might be shocked to discover that Marshall even has five players in the NFL, we in Huntington know that not only does the Herd have far more than that, they have five good enough to play in the Super Bowl. OK, so it might help that four happen to play for Bill Belichick. Regardless, as a public service to you, the reader, here is the first of five looks back at the college careers of Herd alumni gunning for a ring:

Ahmad Bradshaw

Position: Running Back

Hometown: Bluefield, VA

Years at Marshall: 2004-2006

Career Stats: 2982 rushing yards, 31 TD's 697 receiving yards, 5 TD's

Awards: 2005 C-USA 2nd team, 2006 C-USA 1st team

Draft: 250th pick (Round 7) in 2007 by New York Giants

Years in NFL: 1

The word "best" is a little iffy, but the phrase "most talented" is something most Herd fans probably can agree on when comparing the Giants' rookie to other Marshall running backs.

AB fell into Marshall's lap when college football mastermind Al Groh booted him from UVA for an underage drinking/running from the cops incident. He spent most of his freshman season of 2004 backing up senior Earl Charles. Not unlike his rookie season with the Giants, Bradshaw was at his best late in the season as he showed off his raw talent with big plays against Akron and Western Michigan.

Amhad immediately became the focal point for the offense in 2005 as the Herd found itself in a new conference with a new quarterback and head coach. He finished with 997 rushing yards during Marshall's rough 4-7 campaign.

Bradshaw broke out in his junior year with 1523 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns on the season, both in the top 10 nationally. In what would be the final home game of his college career, AB ran all over UTEP to the tune of 262 yards and 5 TD's, earning a helmet sticker from College Gamenight in the process.

Many Herd fans were pissed that AB skipped his senior season to head for the NFL. His presence alone probably would have added at least one or two more wins to the 3-9 disaster that was 2007. The most dissapointing thing though is that Marshall's most talented running back never got to play with a good Herd team. The thought of AB next to Leftwich in the shotgun with Watts, Davis, and Marriott out wide would still give Tom Amstutz chills. Or maybe it's the food he'd undoubtedly be thinking about. Who knows?

Best YouTube clip:

Here's Ahmad running all over UCF in 2006. The last one is just silly. Drink every time the announcer (Rece Davis?) says "Bradshaw!"