AP NEWS

Herd hits the ground running

August 4, 2018

HUNTINGTON — For Marshall University’s football team, summer is officially over.

Now, the work begins.

On Thursday, Marshall’s football players made their way back to Huntington in preparation for the start of preseason camp that begins Friday afternoon.

Thursday still marked a full day for the players, who had to get moved into their living quarters for the duration of camp while also going through the gantlet of meetings — from compliance to positional — as they get set to officially kick off the season.

“Whenever you get to this point where you have that opening press conference, it’s upon us now,” Holliday said on Monday. “Summer is over and it’s time to get back to work.”

According to Holliday, the NCAA increased the number of players on a roster from 105 to 110, and Marshall had 107 players in Huntington during the summer, which means that despite it being the first official day of practice, most players — even newcomers — have been in town for at least six weeks getting acclimated to life in NCAA Division I football.

Holliday said the increase in numbers, plus Marshall being at its full complement of 85 scholarship players, means there will be a change in the format during the acclimation period. In years past, Holliday split the day between veterans and newcomers, but that philosophy

ended in 2017 when the NCAA phased out two-a-day practices.

The work put in during the summer, the increase in the number of players and the decrease in the number of practices have combined to create a perfect storm in which Holliday is jumping right into fielding three separate units in order to gauge his team.

“For that first five days of that acclimation period, we’re going to actually work three teams — have a first, second and a full third team for the first, at least, four days — and see if we can find some young kids that can help us,” Holliday said.

Marshall opens the season at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 1 when the Thundering Herd hits the road for a matchup with Miami (Ohio) at Yager Stadium in Oxford, Ohio.