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Schofield's look, play inspire Herd

Aug. 12, 2010 @ 12:08 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Chad Schofield had to scratch his long, straight, golden-locked filled head to ponder the last time he got a hair cut.

"Oh, gosh," Schofield said. "Maybe my senior year in high school."

It's been a long four years since Schofield last went to a barber shop in his hometown of Strongsville, Ohio. Obviously, judging by the strings of blonde that jet out from his helmet, he's let his hair grow a bit -- just like his football career along the Marshall University offensive line.

After two years and seven games of sitting, Schofield finally got his first start Oct. 18, 2008, at UAB.

At that time he was a sophomore guard, coached by Mark Snyder and playing with the likes of seniors Matt Altobello and Brian Leggett, a trio that helped spur Darius Marshall's first of two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

Flash ahead nearly a full two years, a coach and a position change later, and Schofield's become the leader of a line that's been flipped and flopped more this camp than Schofield's threads during a 40-yard dash.

"I'd like to think so," Schofield said of his director's role in the trenches. "I try to take that in. I try to make all the calls right.

"I just take the group as a whole, pointing out the calls, just try to lead them in the right direction."

Please excuse the Thundering Herd o-line for not knowing what direction to go nowadays.

In just the last week, Ryan Tillman, once a guard, is now a tackle. C.J. Wood, once a tackle, is now a guard. Landis Provancha, once a center, is now a guard. And Brandon Campbell, once a left tackle, is now at right tackle.

But Schofield, he's staying put at the center position.

"We're doing great out there," Schofield said. "I think we've gotten a little bit more physical,a little bit more tougher on the inside. And on the outside, we're athletic."

Inside or outside, the Marshall line knows where its commander sits.

"Chad's the foundation," Tillman said. "As he goes, we go, basically."

Schofield didn't go much at all last spring. After suffering a knee injury late in the 2009 season that lingered into 2010, the All-Conference USA candidate missed out on getting a jumpstart on head coach Doc Holliday and offensive coordinator Bill Legg's new system last April.

Physically, Schofield missed out, anyway.

"He's a little behind because he was able to take the mental reps during the spring by watching practice and watching film and that kind of stuff," Legg said. "But right now is his first real opportunity in this offense.

"Sit him in the meeting room, draw it on the board, he understands this offense no problem. Put it on film, no problem."

Also not an issue -- Schofield's grit. Just check out the way he's battled heat, two knee braces and the Herd defense this camp.

Or just ask Tillman.

"He's got tremendous toughness," Tillman said. "That's the main thing, and all of us just try to emulate that and follow his example."

All the way to Sept. 2, when Schofield gets to play in his home state against his favorite team.

Check that, his former favorite team.

"I definitely grew up as an Ohio State fan," Schofield said. "But I hate them now."

That attitude, combined with that hair, and the Herd has its resident intimidator.

"It's just me," Schofield said. "It's just my persona now."



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