HUNTINGTON, W.Va.– It was business as usual for a the Thundering Herd on Monday as it took the field for the first time in preseason camp. Players and coaches were glad to be back to work after a long summer of workouts and preparation. They were also glad to put the preseason expectations to a rest and focus on the upcoming season.
Coach Doc Holliday and his staff addressed the team in a Marshall version of the “State of the Union” Sunday night and let the players know what the coaching staff expects of them.
” The expectations for this football team are extremely high and we tell them that’s good, its a positive thing,” acknowledges Holliday. “On the other hand it means absolutely nothing if we don’t’ come out here everyday as a football team and walk off this field a better individual and team we won’t come close to those expectations.”
No player has received more preseason publicity than junior quarterback Rakeem Cato and deservedly so. Cato is the reigning conference Most Valuable Player and has been named to four preseason watch lists. His skill and poise in the pocket won’t sneak up on any opponents this season.
“It’s 2013, its a new year and a new ball club and we’re just ready to win,” says Cato.
The Miami native isn’t concerning himself with the lofty goals that are being placed on this team by the media and others outside of the the program. He remains focused on his job and nothing more.
“That’s their (the media) job and we’re on scholarship to play football so we have to play football for all that to come true,” says Cato. “If we play good football, like I know we can, then all that will take care of itself.”
“We don’t worry about that because that’s predictions,” reiterated linebacker Kent Turene. “We’ve got to make it happen on the field. Everyday we practice we work hard so we can become what we want to become at the end of the season.”
Turene’s presence on the field will be a boost for The Herd as it strives to compete for a Conference USA title. Turene hasn’t been on the field in two years. He originally signed with the University of Georgia in 2011 but wasn’t able to qualify academically. He signed with Marshall in the spring of 2012 but had to sit out a year as a non-qualifer. Then, just as Turene was getting back into the swing of things this spring, he tore ligaments in his ankle and had his spring season cut short.
“It’s been a very long time. I had to sit out two seasons and now to be able to come back it’s been a long road but its worth it,” insists Turene.
The ankle continues to improve each day and Turene says he’s feeling close to 100 percent again.
It’s just one practice, but The Herd seems unfazed by the mountain of expectations that are being heaped on this team.