HUNTINGTON - Once the women’s soccer team cleared out after their early morning session, the Thundering Herd football squad took the field for day two of fall camp.
Of course, the women’s team has to get to work, as their first exhibition game at Longwood is in four days, Aug. 11, while the season home opener for them is in ten day, Aug. 17, against former Mid-American Conference rival Ball State, at Huntington High School.
But, ladies, no more shots at the head of Herd Insider Editor Jack Bogaczyk … he is not as quick as he used to be, and one of the players nearly took his head off yesterday while he was talking to a football player.
But back to the American football, the Herd shook the quarterbacks up a bit on day two, as Eric Frohnapfel came out with freshman walk-on quarterback Tanner Owens, while scholarship true freshman Gunnar Holcombe was held until the afternoon session, working along Rakeem Cato.
Frohnapfel appeared completely recovered from his shoulder surgery, as he made all the throws in pass skel and team, with Owens just arriving and trying to get a crash course in the playbook the other quarterbacks were into all summer in team workouts headed up by the players.
Frohnapfel hit 4-of-5 in the team period, for 27 yards, and also flashed the wheels with a couple of scrambles.
He also was ducking for cover on sacks by defensive linemen in sophomore Tom Collins (a transfer from Bethany College, who played at Williamstown High School in-state), redshirt freshman Armonze Daniel (who is now at defensive end) and redshirt freshman Steve Dillion, who sat out last year as a prop.
Kicking and punting took an upturn this morning, as Justin Haig hit about 90 percent of his tries, including field goals of 40 and 48 yards.
Punting, Tyler Williams was much better in individual, hanging the ball up for 40-50 yard kicks.
In the full special teams, he still had some inconsistency, following a 55-yard rainbow with a duck hook of 27 yards.
His last five kicks were 56 (nice), 45 (nice), 35 (and low), 28 (shank) and 54 yards (nice).
Tron Martinez was in a red jersey on day one, but shed the injury shirt today. He was also joined in backfield by Stewart Butler, Martin Ward, Remi Watson and fullback Jacob Barr.
Armonze Daniels went with the morning defensive line today, and looked very good in the team period with 2.5 sacks and another stop.
Marshall’s Child Development Center visited the Herd practice, as a couple of dozen pre-schooler watched some of the Herd’s practice.
The receivers had a new drill from coach Gerad Parker. From their knees, facing away from the coach, they were to pick up a high lofting pass over their heads and make the catch falling forward.
Most of the receivers pulled in about 3-4 of the five chances they got, but it was a tough morning for walk-on Kameron Thomas.
Thomas absolutely did not move on any of the first four balls lofted over his head, then the fifth pass hit him right on top of the helmet.
Here’s a hint — watch for the shadow of the ball on the turf, as it comes over your head!
Stewart Butler is flashing some of the 4.35 speed he possesses on the first two days, but he also showed some toughness.
On one carry, he ran over linebacker Matt Cincotta, who is also the Herd’s new long snapper.
Butler a few plays later, fumbled the ball, snapped up by defensive back Lawrence Johnson, and earned some rolls on the turf for his “crime.”
BTW, Cincotta has been perfect for two days, as has Blake Frohnapfel on holds. Amazing how that makes Haig better!
Cincotta came back on the very next play after Butler ran him over to tag Martin Ward in the backfield.
Cincotta comes to the Herd from Charlotte Catholic, and is just about six foot tall and 202-pounds.
I HERD That
Doc Holliday Comments:
Would you just like to go straight into full pads, or what is the advantage of the shorts practices?
“We are getting a lot done in shorts, we are getting a lot of teaching done. I thought (the morning group) ran around pretty good…but they are still in shorts, they better still be running around.
“We’ll come back with the second group in the afternoon, while the morning group will go in the weight room and get a lift in.”
Talk about the difference in the morning group and the afternoon group, is there a difference in how they work?
“The second group (with more veterans) they are not thinking, they are playing. This group (with more younger players) they are still thinking about what they are doing.
“We try to get a good mix, a good structure, with some older kids with the younger players, coaching them up a bit.”
While the players are still only in shorts, Stewart Butler looks fast and ready to play, don’t you think?
“Stewart Butler, he has been here … in the weight program, in the strength program, and there is a reason he did what he did in high school, and that’s the reason he is here.
“But until we put the pads on, you can’t put a stamp on anybody.
“That kid likes to play, to compete. If he runs as fast in pads as he does in shorts, I think he’ll be a keeper.”
Split squad format is very different, did you do that everywhere you have been?
“No, I only have used this at Florida, with Urban (Meyer, now the Ohio State head coach). To each his own, but I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t take advantage of taking this many reps.
“I like what we are doing, and there’s not a kid out there, on this team, who won’t be coached up for the first four days.
I think it helps (the coaches) to understand who can play.
“What some of these guys who have been heavily recruited, if they come out there in the full group, they don’t get coached up, they are in shock and ready to go home after four or five days, because you can’t give a lot of reps when you have five or six at a position.
“I think the formats great, I stole it from Urban, and I like what we are doing.”
Is it like the old days when you had the freshmen for three days all along?
“A little bit, but the numbers are better. If you remember, you might have 18 kids. At times you would have three linemen, a quarterback and you could never get this much accomplished.
"What the NCAA has done, by allowing the freshmen to come in in June, they are so much further ahead, they have already worked through that homesickness.
“He has been here all summer. That’s a great rule.
“Plus it gives kids an opportunity, kids that just show up here like Billy Rone, and a couple of others down the road a bit, it’s not that he can’t compete, but they are so far behind they can’t catchup physically (Rone got here late, as he had to finish up at junior college before coming to Marshall late in the summer).”
How is Blake Frohnapfel doing at quarterback?
“He is competing. I thought he threw the ball much better today, he was more consistent. He is such a great kid, and (football) is so important to him, that he will get better each day.
“He was better today, and he will compete every day. He was competing last year for the (starting quarterback) job until he got hurt.
“He knows he has to be in a position to play for us, and he is going to play … he is too good of a player not to get on the field for us. He will be involved in the game, and we will find ways to get him in.”
Defensive linemen Steve Dillion and Armonze Daniels seemed to step up today?
“I like Armonze, he has got ‘it.’ He’s talented, he can run, he is athletic, and now we will put the pads on and see where it goes from here.
“He has shown he can play there.
“Dillion is Dillion. Once he figures it out, he is going to be a good player for us.”
Players are open to moving around, like Daniels moving from linebacker to end and others. Doesn’t that takes a special group of kids to move around like that without complaints?
“Well, they have to be. Part of having a great football team is having a bunch of guys who aren’t selfish and don’t care about anything else but winning.
“If the element of selfishness infiltrates your team, you don’t have a chance, so we work very hard to make sure it is all about the team.
“If you win, if you go to bowl games, those individual awards, those players of the year awards, like Vinny Curry, will come but you have to be worried about the team first.
We talked to the team about bringing (the two Boston College safeties) in. It allows us to get the best players on the field where they should be.
“It allows us to move Devin Arrington, Evan McKelvey and Raheem Waiters to linebacker because of that move, and I liked what I saw out of those guys because they can run.
“It also allows us to take the D.J. Hunter’s of the world and make a nickel out of him, so now the best people on the field against the spreads we see in this league and matchup better than we have in the past."
A couple of good minutes with tight end Eric Frohnapfel:
Talk about the reps you got today, especially when C.J. Crawford was injured by safety Zach Dunston, with no other tight ends out on field?
“With these split practices, they want us to get a lot of reps, and when C.J. went down, obviously I rolled my eyes a little bit but I knew I had to step up and not worry about how tired you might get and do your job.”
Dunston due a little payback, taking out Crawford and giving you a shot on the very next play?
“It gets a little chippy out there, and there is a chance of getting hurt when we are only in helmets out there, like the shot C.J. took, but that’s football, so I try not to worry about it.”
Talk about the tight ends you guys will throw out there this year?
“We have a deep room (good depth) and we are a bit part of the offense, both blocking and catching the ball out there, and it’s good we have multiple guys to go out there because we are a big part of the offense.
“Being in the slot, blocking on bubble screens for other guys … we didn’t do anything like that in high school. I basically ran corner routes and drags, but I like the fact the Marshall offense keeps us moving around, keeps up occupied and there is a large array of things we get to do as tight ends and I like that.”
Talk about the Marshall tight end history, with names like Doctor, Ihnat, Bartrum, Slate and Smith, to name a few?
“When I was getting recruited, I knew Marshall had a great tradition of tight ends, so it was easy for me to come here because I would be following in the footsteps of such great players.
“We haven’t made that kind of impacts as a unit yet, but hopefully we go out there and make the kinds of plays they did.”
Biggest adjustment from last year to this year?
“I got a lot of extra reps in 7-on-7 today because (of the injury) to C.J., and I was really working on my releases (off the defender) and stemming the guy in front of me. That’s something I wouldn’t have worried about last year, I would have just been trying to run the right route.
“This year, I am worried more about the fine nuances of running the right route, because I know going into the play what I have to do.
“There is such good competition in this room with C.J., ‘Gator’ (Hoskins), Joe (Woodrum), and Stefone Grace coming up, those are the kinds of things that will separate us. Also, who can make those (little adjustments) on plays.”