Temperatures are in the upper 70’s and even topping 80 degrees. The robins have returned and the smell of fresh cut grass is in the air. It must be time for football. Marshall kicks off its annual spring drills on Tuesday. Here’s five questions I have heading into 2012 Spring Practice.
Who replaces Vinny Curry?
That is really a two part question. Who will step up and take over his presence on the defensive line and secondly who will take over his presence in the lockerroom? On the field that player could be Jeremiah Taylor who started 11 games on the opposite side of the line from Curry. Taylor recorded 45 tackles, 7.5 TFL and 3.5 sacks. Ra’Shawde Myers (r-FR) will also be looking to make a name for himself during spring drills.
In the lockerroom, Doc Holliday is looking for Aaron Dobson to assert himself as the leader of the 2012 Thundering Herd. He even said as much following Marshall’s win over FIU in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl back in December.
What affect will the new coaches have?
It became routine over the winter to announce a coach leaving the Thundering Herd staff and then a new coach joining the staff. Lytrel Pollard, Geep Wade and J.C. Prince have all joined the staff this year. Doc Holliday said during his Signing Day news conference that he was looking for coaches that had the same mentality has him. I suspect he found that in Pollard, Wade and Prince so I would think the transition will be fairly smooth.
Where are the quarterbacks?
And we though Marshall was thin at quarterback last year. With A.J. Graham’s dismissal from the team in February, Rakeem Cato is the only quarterback on the roster who has even thrown a pass in a college football game. Plus, Cato is the only healthy quarterback. Blake Frohnapfel, the only other quarterback on the roster, ended the 2011 season in street clothes following shoulder surgery.  He’ll be far from 100 percent heading into spring camp. Jermaine Kelson, who played quarterback in high school, was forced to take snaps in preparation for the bowl game in case Cato went down. 
Can everybody stay healthy?
Doc Holliday was recruiting members of the media to come down out of the pressbox last spring and catch passes because so many guys were being held out for one reason or another. Too bad for him most of us would be better suited to play on the offensive or defensive lines. The only way for the practice time to be beneficial is to actually be out on the practice field. Running laps around the field or doing stadium steps doesn’t help that much. Although it will help your appearance on the beach later this summer.
Will we see progress from last year?
It’s hard to say. It is very difficult to evaluate what you’re watching during spring drills. I’ll be happy if Cato looks sharp. Receivers are catching passes and the team overall looks crisp by the end of the spring. 
Follow Dave on Twitter @wvmetro_dwilson. E-mail comments to dwilson@wvradio.com
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