Areas To Watch During Preseason Camp

It’s going to be an interesting fall camp for the Thundering Herd as it tries to improve on last year’s 5-7 record. It will have to do it with a brand new quarterback, revamped offensive line, but a veteran defense with arguably the best defensive player in C-USA rushing the passer off the end. Here’s five things I’m looking for out of The Herd as they prepare for the Sept. 4th opener against WVU.
1)      Quarterback Play: Okay, this is the obvious one. During spring practice neither Eddie Sullivan nor A.J. Graham did much to separate themselves and take control of the position. Now, the unpolished quarterbacks will have to step it up a notch and lead the offense. Incoming freshmen Rakeen Cato and Blake Frohnapfel could push for playing time if Sullivan and Graham can’t get the job done. 
2)      Mental toughness: This isn’t one that can be measured by statistics. This is one you just know when you see it. Marshall must be able to forget mistakes and losses quickly or it could be in deep trouble. With the opening part of the schedule, Marshall could start the year 1-5. If the team isn’t mentally tough, it might never recover.
3)      Young Players Stepping Up: Competition is good. It is easy for veteran players to become a little content so having a young guy push them only makes them better. Younger players could also step up and fill voids The Herd has in the secondary, on the line and yes even at quarterback. A freshman that looks good in camp will either find his way on the field and make an impact or make the older players above him work harder and they’ll be that much better. It’s a win-win either way.
4)      Improvement each practice: Every practice won’t be perfect, but a sign of a good football team is seeing it get more refined and polished as summer camp wears on. Quarterbacks’ and receivers’ timing gets better, routes are sharper, and the offensive line knows who to block. Defensively, players are in the proper position and making plays when necessary. If the team is still making the same mistakes at the end of August that it made at the beginning of August then it could be in big trouble.
5)      Has Doc Holliday changed?: Last year was Doc’s first time completely running the show. One of the themes of his press conferences last year was “Staying the course.” Even when things looked their bleakest Doc continually said he knew his program would work and his players just had to continue working. Does he make changes this year? How does he adapt his program to the current roster?

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