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MU Football Notebook: Frohnapfel earning attention

Aug. 19, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Prior to the season, Marshall football coach Doc Holliday said the offense has to find a way to incorporate backup quarterback Blake Frohnapfel more often into the Herd's offensive scheme.

"I've mentioned all along that Frohnapfel is a guy that deserves to play at quarterback," Holliday said at his pre-season press conference. "He's proven that he can win and there has got to be a role for him. There needs to be a role with him for our offense and that will happen."

It might have seemed like an awkward statement, considering the Herd has the 2012 Conference USA Most Valuable Player at quarterback in Rakeem Cato, but Frohnapfel has shown the validity of the comment with his play.

The first time Frohnapfel stepped onto the scene was in the fourth quarter and overtime of the Herd's 65-59 loss to East Carolina in last year's season-finale.

Frohnapfel came in for Cato, who was injured midway through the third quarter and led the team on a drive deep into ECU territory as the fourth quarter ended.

Cato came back for one play, but was deemed too hurt to play after having trouble with his plant foot, so Frohnapfel was left to lead the Herd with bowl hopes on the line.

Frohnapfel proceeded to lead a pair of scoring drives -- the first being his own 51-yard touchdown run to give Marshall a 45-42 lead and the second being a 15-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in Essray Taliaferro's 1-yard score to put the Herd up 52-45 with 1:55 left in regulation.

The Pirates went on to score and ultimately win the game following a Herd fumble in double-overtime, but Frohnapfel showed his value, finishing the game 12-of-15 for 101 yards with a touchdown and interception while adding 62 yards rushing.

Fast forward ahead to the start of 2013 camp and Frohnpafel is still impressing coaches with his play.

During Frohnapfel's first set of plays in Saturday's scrimmage, he led a pair of touchdown drives while showing an array of passes.

He completed a 45-yard strike on a post route to Devon Johnson to set up Remi Watson's 9-yard TD run, capping a 5-play, 65-yard drive then found Jazz King on a fade to the back of the end zone for a 14-yard score five plays later.

It was all part of a start in which Frohnapfel went 6-of-7 for 92 yards.

"As an offense, we came out pretty strong," Frohnapfel said. "It was hit-or-miss at times there, but day-by-day we're getting better. We're adding new things to the offense and I feel like we're doing a pretty good job."

Frohnapfel ended the scrimmage 12-of-20 for 136 yards with the touchdown and an interception against a defense that he says has vastly improved from 2012's camp and is making the offense better each day.

"One thing about our defense now is that they are always bringing enthusiasm and energy and they are making it hard on the quarterbacks," Frohnapfel said.

Frohnapfel said the defense is pushing both he and starter Rakeem Cato each day, getting them prepared for pressure situations that they will see against competition in 2013.

As Frohnapfel continues to play well, it will be interesting to see how things progress with Holliday's vow to incorporate the 6-6, 225-pound redshirt sophomore more into the Marshall scheme.

Cato's play from 2012 -- 4,201 yards and 37 touchdowns -- speaks for itself, but the emergence of Frohnapfel and his increased use in the offensive scheme could soon show that Marshall might have two of the best quarterbacks in Conference USA on its roster.

At least, Holliday thinks so.

FROM G TO G: Quarterback Gunnar Holcombe also got in on the touchdown pass parade on Saturday evening when he connected with Dameon Garrett, a.k.a. G-Money, on a 21-yard touchdown pass.

TICKET PROMO: Marshall athletics announced that tickets for the Aug. 31 season-opener against Miami (Ohio) and the Sept. 7 contest against Gardner-Webb can be purchased at a reduced price when purchased online.

Fans wishing to get $10 off their single games tickets for the two contests can use the promotional code "THEHERD" when they purchase tickets through HerdZone.com.

Marshall's season-opener against Miami is a 7 p.m. kickoff on Aug. 31 while the contest against Gardner-Webb is a 6:30 p.m. start on Sept. 7.

Grant Traylor covers Marshall football for The Herald-Dispatch. He can be reached by E-mail at gtraylor@herald-dispatch.com or by phone at 304-526-2860. Follow him on Twitter (@GrantTraylor).

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