Bigger, Faster, Stronger

 There’s still more than a month to go before preseason camp officially begins for the Marshall football team and the players are looking forward to getting out on the Joan C. Edwards turf and the 100 degree temperatures of early August. 
That has to be easier than what they are going through now, offseason work outs. 
“Hopefully its hell for them,” strength and conditioning coach Joe Miday says with a bit of a grin. “It’s something different every day.”
Bigger, faster, and stronger are three words you’ll hear a lot if you hang around the Marshall weight room for more than 15 minutes. Linemen are working on trimming down and becoming more explosive off the ball. Backs and receivers want to be able to make moves in the open field and even quarterback Rakeem Cato has beefed up in the offseason. However, the work outs are about more than just achieving those physical goals, Miday and the rest of the staff is instilling discipline that will carry over to the field.
“If you do everything right in the weight room then that transfers over onto the field,” asserts Miday. “We did a team wall sit. If a toe hits the line then we all start over. We have strict rules and those rules have to be followed. Just like on the football field there are strict rules and you have to follow them.”
Evidence of Marshall’s offseason conditioning program was clear in 2011 as The Herd was 5-0 in games that came down to seven points or less. Miday said he continually emphasizes to the players this team does not lose in the fourth quarter. 
“What we’re doing out here, I think we can get through anything if we can get through this,” insists defensive back D.J. Hunter.
Even though the training sessions are difficult you don’t hear any complaining. Each and every player understands what is at stake and why they are being put through the grueling working outs in May, June and July – a Conference USA title. 
“They love it right now,” said Miday. “They’ve bought in to doing stuff right.”
What the players have bought into is the plan to win that Doc Holliday has referenced on many occasions. We saw signs that the plan was starting to come to fruition during the 2011 seasons as Marshall finished with a 7-6 record and a bowl win. After seeing the attitude of the players just working out on a humid 95 degree day in June, it is clear they have fully bought into what the coaching staff has been selling them all along. For Miday and the rest of the coaching staff, the next challenge will be translating that off-the-field success into wins on the field.
“If it’s hard now it’s easy in the fall and if it is easy now then I won’t have a job.”
Follow Dave on Twitter @wvmetro_dwilson. E-mail comments to

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