As Huff enters second season leading Marshall, program familiarity should prove beneficial

— By Bill Cornwell

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The sound of yelling coaches, crunching pads and booted footballs again filled Joan C. Edwards Stadium as Marshall’s football team opened fall practice Friday.

Second-year head coach Charles Huff, new offensive coordinator Clint Trickett and defensive coordinator Lance Guidry met with the media on Thursday to discuss areas of emphasis in August practices.

“This is kind of like the first day of school,” Huff said. “Everybody is undefeated. Everybody has made every play, every catch, no bad coaching decisions, no bad fans.”

Huff and the coordinators face questions in specific areas, such as if Texas Tech transfer Henry Colombi will face major competition for the starting quarterback job, as well as if new faces on the offensive line are the right fit before the start of the season September 3 against Norfolk State.

No matter how the depth chart develops over the next few weeks, Huff says having a year under his belt as leader of the football program helps answer some questions.

“The expectations of the people involved with the program from an administrative standpoint, the fans, the players, the student body — understanding those things will allow me to navigate a little more comfortably,” Huff said. “Not that the plan last year was bad or didn’t work. We’ll just be able to navigate a little bit more.”

Marshall has 48 new players, a roster shakeup of 24 freshmen and 24 transfers that Huff said was needed for the Herd to compete in its new home as members of the Sun Belt Conference.

“It’s a little bit of a new learn for us, a new identity,” Huff said. “Same fundamental core pieces and plan, different faces, different ideas and different mentality that we’ve got to try in the next month to get on the same page.”

Along with the work on identifying key players on offense, Marshall’s defense will also feature many new faces, particularly along the defensive line, which added transfers from Power 5 schools Kentucky and Purdue in Isaiah Gibson and Anthony Watts, respectively.

Guidry says the new, talented players will push returners in fall drills to help develop a quality unit.

“There’s going to be competition all throughout camp and I’m just excited to see this move the depth chart up and down. We’re going to need all these guys this year, because people are going to get dinged up,” Guidry said.

Watch List Update

There’s another preseason honor for Marshall sophomore running back Rasheen Ali as he’s now been named to the Walter Camp Award watch list. The Camp Award is given annually to the College Football Player of the Year … Marshall’s Abraham Beauplan is on the Watch List for the Bednarik Award, which goes annually to College Football’s top linebacker … Herd linebacker Tyriek Bell has joined Ali on the watch list for the Wuerffel Award, given annually to the FBS player who best combines exemplary community service with leadership achievement on and off the field … Receiver Corey Gammage is on the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to college football’s top receiver.

Fan Day

Marshall fans will get a chance to meet players and get autographs and photos during a Fan Day event scheduled for Saturday, August 20 from 4-5 p.m. in the west concourse of Joan C. Edwards Stadium. MU athletics officials say most, if not all players will be available during the event to interact with fans.

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