Coach Holliday had an official work with the secondary and return unit today mostly to just keep a check on the hands and formations.
“He is just watching their hands mostly within the secondary making sure we were playing clean back there and getting alignments,” Holliday said. “We did some punt return things where we could check out our hold up and blocks.
The official was Kenny Long who attended Marshall and lives in Hurricane. He is a licensed CUSA official but he does not work any of Marshall’s games.
Holliday said that Gunnar Holcombe’s time spent within the program aided in his choice for the backup position.
“He’s making plays and better decisions,” said Holliday. “We stuck him there with the ones a couple times even today and he’s getting better as a player and he’s progressing. The one thing that Gunnar has that Cole (Garvin) doesn’t have is Gunnar has been here a couple springs. He understands the offense a little better and is executing better at this point.
Holliday said he has a good idea of who will start the season returning punts with some addition hands joining the unit at a later time.
“I think there’s no doubt that Shuler and Reaves have both done it and can do it and there are two young freshmen in Gator Green and Hyleck Foster that both have tremendous ball skills back there,” said Holliday. “Early on it will be more Reaves and Shuler and then as we go along we will see how Foster and Green do. All four of them have the ability to get that done.”
One of Doc’s favorite things on a field is competition among players and he has a major battle brewing between the kickers. Justin Haig has been pushed all camp by Nick Smith which has actually stretched Haig’s distance out farther than it’s ever been and even farther than Holliday ever imagined.
“He (Haig) has more range now than he ever had,” Holliday said. “I didn’t realize he had it and he hadn’t had the range the last two or three years that he has right now. That’s a tribute to him because he has worked and Nick (Smith) has given him a battle and Justin isn’t backing down he is sticking in there and kicking right with him. It’s a good battle but Justin has responded and he’s kicked pretty well.”
In other news from former Herd player Blake Frohnapfel and him being named the starting quarterback at UMASS, Holliday said he was not surprised that Blake won the job.
“There were schools that Blake was interested in that wasn’t interested in him and I couldn’t understand why,” Holliday said. “We wish him the best, he’s an excellent kid and I’m sure he’ll do well for them.”
Ice Bucket Challenge
After being challenged by current New England Patriot and former Herd wide receiver Aaron Dobson, Rakeem Cato took the Ice Bucket Challenge today after this mornings practice. Cato challenged his entire receiving unit at the conclusion of taking the bucket of ice water. View Cato’s Challenge HERE!!!
If you can’t beat them, join them
Shawn Petty officially joined the team today after transferring to Marshall from Maryland. Petty is listed as a 6-1 235-pound linebacker and will play the same position at Marshall. Petty attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School before heading to Maryland where he spent time as a linebacker on the scout team before moving to quarterback during the 2012 season after the team became depleted with injuries. Petty played four games as the Terps signal caller going 39-84 for 500 yards with 6TD’s and 2 interceptions. Petty played in 13 games last season for Maryland as he recorded 24 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks (-26 yards) with one pass breakup and deflection each. Petty will sit out this season (transfer) and will be a redshirt junior next season. Petty will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Welcome to the Herd Family
Tight ends coach Todd Hartley and wife Jessica welcomed the birth of their third child at 10:15 a.m. this morning. Teagan Elizabeth Hartley weighed 5-pounds 13-ounces and was 19 inches long. Mother and baby are doing fine.
Coach Hartley said the outpouring of support from everyone has been tremendous.
“The good part about being part of something like this it truly is family,” Hartley said. “We’ve had coaches wives coming by and all kinds of texts and tweets and Facebook and its been unbelievable just because of the Marshall family. We’ve got our family back home in Georgia but the Marshall family is just unbelievable.”
Hartley said with child number three his wife Jessica has become more accustomed to the life of a football coach, unlike the birth of his first child when the couple was still in Georgia and one of the biggest games of the season was on the schedule.
“I was working for Georgia and I missed about three days of work,” explained Hartley. “We were playing Florida that we, Georgia-Florida game and I was on the plane on Friday to down to the game on Saturday. She was upset because I was gone after three days.”
With the birth today, Hartley missed only the morning practice.
Congratulations to the entire Hartley family on their new addition.
Turn up the music
At 4:17 p.m. today, somewhere between 3rd and 5th avenues and approximately around 20th street in between McDonalds and Tic Toc Tire, Thunderstruck was heard filling the air over Huntington. Have you…?
You’re not worthy
After a lengthy discussion with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakesvp) today, he made it perfectly clear that anyone who does not have a win over a Power 5 team. He basically said that should Marshall go 12-0, it was pretty much meaningless due to its terrible schedule. Even with every other team in the nation going 11-1 and Marshall going 12-0, he says Marshall has no chance. View the conversation on my Twitter feed at @CollierSZLive.
Keep a look out for an upcoming article featuring Eric and Blake Frohnapfel and football life after Marshall. This will be the first season they will place on different teams after Blake transferred to UMASS after obtaining his undergraduate degree at Marshall. The interview covers football life and life away from the field including some brotherly love humor.