Marshall offensive lineman C.J. Wood may be a redshirt junior, but as the Thundering Herd continue through spring practice, he finds himself in a new situation.
Wood, along with fellow veteran lineman Ryan Tillman, will have to become the anchors of an offensive line that still has three gaps to fill.
Chris Bowers, Corey Tenney, Jordan Jeffries, Josh Bruhin and Alex Schooler all return with some experience from last season, but only have five starts among them.
Wood says that presents a need for adjustment from everyone.
“It makes it a little difficult because you’re working with all new people,” said Wood. “You have to work on new techniques with new people, get new chemistry.”
So will either Wood or Tillman step into a leadership role to help the more inexperienced players? Yes and no. Expect to see Wood giving it his all this spring, but not to hear about it.
“I’m not really the vocal-type leader… but I try to lead by example,” Wood explained.
One thing the entire offensive line has been working on together is strength and conditioning. Wood says he feels the hard work he and the other linemen have put in during the offseason has translated well through the first few spring practices.
That’s certainly a stark contrast from last season.
“A year ago I didn’t think we were tough and I didn’t think we loved football at that position,” said Marshall coach Doc Holliday of his line last year. “When you watched them on tape they just didn’t play that way.”
Wood is going to have to find some common ground with the other lineman, even if it is strength and conditioning. With a new quarterback in the backfield for the Herd this fall, jelling the offensive line will be one of the more crucial areas for Doc Holliday before Marshall opens the season against West Virginia.