HUNTINGTON, W.Va.– Preseason camp can become monotonous very quickly for the players that go through the daily routine of meetings, practices, rehab and weight lifting to prepare for the start of the season. It is not uncommon for teams to have a bad practice or two as the effects of the daily grind catch up with players.
So far, that hasn’t been the case at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
“Everyday they’ve come out here they’ve gone extremely hard and they’ve had fun doing it,” says coach Doc Holliday.
To this point, Holliday has been extremely pleased with the intensity his squad has practiced with through the first two weeks of camp.
“The one thing I’ve said all along about this football team is they like to play,” says Holliday. “You get guys out here having fun who like to play, the camp doesn’t become the grind it sometimes does and your practices are a lot better.”
That’s not to say each practice has been perfect. There have been dropped balls, turnovers, missed assignments and other mistakes that are common throughout preseason camps all over the country. However, the mistakes don’t sting as much when players are going all out on every player and in each drill.
“Good teams at this part of camp, when things start to get tough we get a little tired, find a way to come out every day and have a great day,” insists Holliday.
Holliday credits much of the upbeat attitude to the abundance of leadership on the team. The Herd has more than a dozen seniors on the squad and juniors such as Rakeem Cato and Tommy Shuler are never shy about doing a little on-field coaching.
“When you have great leadership they don’t let those young guys come out and not practice well and not go hard,” praises Holliday.
As pleased as Holliday has been with his team through the first half of camp, he’s looking ahead to the next two weeks leading up to the season opener with Miami (OH) on Aug. 31. The Herd needs to maintain the same attitude and intensity as camp winds down and the regular season ramps up.
“It’s been all football for about a week and a half, we’ve been grinding pretty hard but that’s what camp is all about. You have 29 practices prior to your first game. The old cliche is a football is made during camp. Those 29 practices determine if you have a team.”
Holliday will give his team a taste of the game day experience during the second preseason scrimmage. The Herd will line up under the Edwards Stadium lights Saturday night, which Holliday says will serve as a dress rehearsal for the actual thing in two weeks.
“It gives us an opportunity to get them off of their feet for the day,” explains Holliday. “We can meet with them and come back that night and turn the lights on. We can make it like game day with the way we feed them, the way we get them up and the whole deal.”
The scrimmage begins at 7 p.m. with gates opening at 6:30. It is open to Big Green member, 2013 season ticket holders and Marshall students with the university ID.