3:06pm: Hotline with Dave Weekley

Players know importance of Nov. 14

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.– During a team meeting Sunday night, the Marshall Thundering Herd football team and the rest of the world, via Twitter, got their first glimpse of the special helmets that the team will be wearing during Thursday’s game at Tulsa.

The helmets remain the same white with black facemask, and black-green-black stripe down the middle, but instead of having a green block “M” on each side, the “M” on the left side of the helmet is replaced by the numerals “75” for the 75 lives lost during the plane crash in 1970. It isn’t the first time that Marshall has played a game on Nov. 14 since the crash, but it will be the first time Marshall has ever played a game away from Huntington on that date since 1970.

Despite not being in Huntington for the annual Memorial Fountain Ceremony, Marshall players and coaches say they are glad they can honor the lives lost.

“Coach Holliday revealed the helmets we’ll be wearing, and I think it’s very cool,” junior tight end Eric Frohnapfel says. “It puts a little added sentiment to the game; we just have to go out there and get a ‘W.’”

Offensive lineman and West Virginia native Clint Van Horn says being from just two hours away in Beckley makes it even more special.

“A lot of guys don’t find out about it until they get here, but it’s deeply engraved in the minds and memories of those who are from here, so it means that much more especially because they are a part of the history,” says Van Horn.

Marshall head coach Doc Holliday, also a West Virginian, says the whole team has bought into honoring the 1970 team.

“Our kids, they understand the history and what it’s all about, and we’ll remind them again on Wednesday and as we get a little closer to the game,” Holliday says. “Number one, they’ve always been to every memorial, they understand from the time they walk on campus what happened in 1970 and they understand the importance this football program has to the community, fan base, and school because of what happened. They don’t need reminded, but they will be.”

Because of the game in Tulsa, the football team cannot attend the Memorial Fountain Ceremony, but measures are being taken to make sure the football team can watch the ceremony from Tulsa.

“They won’t be there, they’ll be there in spirit,” Holliday says of his team’s participation in the ceremony. “We’ll have it streamed into the hotel so they’ll have an opportunity to see it.”

“What a better way to honor that team than on Thursday night on national television?” Holliday adds. “It’s a great opportunity for them and our program to be able to share with the rest of the country what this program is all about.”

Beyond playing on the road on Nov. 14, the upcoming game against Tulsa has added importance being that a win at Tulsa would keep the Herd on track to being in contention for the Conference USA East Division title.

— Braxton Crisp

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