Cann takes reins of Thundering Herd offense

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Most recently, Thundering Herd NFL quarterbacks include Byron Leftwich and Chad Pennington.
Former Landrum quarterback Mark Cann is wearing a piece of that history on his uniform every week as the newly anointed quarterback for Marshall.
When Cann strolls out onto the field on Saturday in his first game as the starter for the Thundering Herd, fans will get a glimpse of a familiar number.
Cann will be sporting Penningtons No. 10. And a big question that he answers frequently is how it feels to wear that number.
I get asked that a few times, he said. I just have to go out there and play my game.
Penningtons shoes are not something hes focusing on filling. Instead, hes just going to go out and run the Herd offense the best he can.
At Landrum, Cann threw for 5,549 yards and 41 touchdowns. What will he do now with Division I football talent around him?
As a coaching staff in high school, we always felt he had the ability to really excel at the Division I college level with Division I athletes around him, especially once he focused on just one sport, former Landrum head coach John Cann said.
But that was with the coaching hat on.
Once he switched to the dad hat, a vivid image stuck out in his mind.
The elder Cann remembered playing ball with a six-year-old little boy in the backyard, he said.
He could never get enough of it, Cann said.
So whats it going to be like when his son runs out onto the field as starting quarterback as a redshirt freshman?
Saturday will be emotional for our family to see him take the field for the first time at that level and hopefully excel, Cann said. As a dad, Im living a dream.
But Mark is living the real dream. From a 1A South Carolina quarterback to a NCAA Division I quarterback is a dream transition for the 64, 230-pound athlete.
Im just happy I was given the chance, he said. Im excited to get my first start under my belt on Saturday.
Cann was embroiled in a quarterback battle with upperclassmen until head coach Mark Snyders press conference on Tuesday. The redshirt freshmen beat out Brian Anderson and Jonathan Garner for the job. Snyder did say, however, that Anderson or Garner could see action at a moments notice.
Coming into camp, we felt like that (quarterbacks) would be a weak point for us, but Mark has been getting better every day, Snyder said in Tuesdays press conference. He has poise, he lets things bounce right off of him and he has the ability to focus on the next play. He has been doing a good job of running our offense.
As for whether hed rather have a pass play or a run play called in for his first play on Saturday, Cann was indifferent.
Whichever one it is, I hope it goes well for us, he said.
Marshall plays Illinois State at home on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

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