In coach Doc Holliday’s first two years
in Huntington, the Thundering Herd finished 5-7 and 7-6. As the team opened
practice yesterday it was a different team, one that looked confident. Holliday
said he’s always glad to get spring practice started.
“I mentioned to somebody the other day,
I think it’s like waking up on Christmas morning. You got all these new toys you
get to play with, you get to see Stew Butler for the first time, you get to see
Leggett, you get to see, all these new guys, Samuels, that we’ve been waiting a
year to watch and of course the newcomers,” Holliday said.
After the first of two practice sessions
Monday that split the team in two groups, Holliday was encouraged by how ready
for the season the team looked.
“There is very few teams that do what we
do as far as splitting the teams into groups and go the same amount of periods,
but we do that to get the reps we get and we’ll do it again this afternoon and
not very many people do that and I think you can, cause our numbers aren’t that
big out here, but we still go the same number of 22 or 24 periods whatever it
is and I think our kids handle it fine and there isn’t an issue so that means
they are in great shape,” Holliday said.
Among those taking part in the first
practice was heralded recruit A.J. Leggett of Miami. The freshman cornerback says
it was a different experience on his first day of practice at the Division 1
“I just got to get back use to the
different calls and the speed of college football, but other than that it went
pretty good, coming out with the same confidence as high school even though
everything is going faster, just come out with that same confidence and be
ready to play,” Leggett said.
Leggett said he chose Marshall over
bigger schools because throughout the recruiting process the team that stayed
in contact at all times was the Thundering Herd.
“I like how through my whole recruiting
process even though I was committed to other schools they stayed behind me. They stayed talking to me everyday, as much as they can. They just stuck behind
me through my decision, even though I had a lot of big offers and everyone was
saying Marshall wasn’t a big school. They stuck with me through thick and thin
and that’s really what stood out to me,” Leggett said.
Another player involved in the session
was red-shirt back-up quarterback Blake Frohnapfel. He said after a year in the
system, this first day of practice was much different than last years.
“The first day last year I was slammed
in bed that night just absolutely terrified and today and you see a little bit
of it in Gunnar, I’m more relaxed this year obviously I’ve been through it and
I know what I’m doing so it’s a lot easier that way,” Frohnapfel said.
Frohnapfel’s experiences last year
mirrored those of quarterback recruit Gunnar Holcombe on Monday. The freshman
was learning on the fly.
“It was rough in the beginning, it’s
going to take a little while to adjust to, but I caught on alright, I commend
the older guys for how quick they pick things up, but I don’t want nothing
more, each day you have to get better, it gives you something to work at,”
The Herd opens the season Saturday
September 1 at West Virginia University.