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Grant Traylor: Shuler gets back in stride

Aug. 21, 2013 @ 12:12 AM

There's a little more pep in the step of Marshall University wide receiver Tommy Shuler this week at Thundering Herd football practice.

And it had everything to do with the fact that his feet are back to feeling 100 percent.

Shuler, who had offseason surgery on his foot, is back and taking repetitions in individual drills.

Marshall coaches are being cautious and bringing him along slowly to avoid potential re-injury, but he said he feels ready to get out and contribute.

"The injury part is nothing. I got injured in high school -- broke my hand, broke my ankle and have been back out the next week, so it's not that big of a deal," Shuler said.

Shuler has been taking some extra repetitions after practice with Marshall wide receivers coach Mike Furrey and other receivers, but this week was more about getting into individual drills and working toward getting back into the flow.

"It only takes like two days to get back right and it hasn't been that bad," Shuler said. "It's just the conditioning part when you get back -- getting your breath together and you know we run the hurry-up offense so you've got to get your tempo."

During his time out, Shuler got involved in many different things to help the mental side and also his teammates.

He said he studied film of Miami (Ohio) and has even put on the proverbial coaching hat, per se, during practices to assist Furrey with the younger players.

"I know our offense like the back of my hand and, especially being around (Marshall quarterback Rakeem) Cato, we talk a lot of football, so I know where the ball should be and where his pre-snap (read) is at," Shuler said. "I'm just helping them understand my I.Q. with the offense so they can get their I.Q. up and we can move quickly."

Since Furrey's arrival here prior to spring practice, Shuler and he have built a bond that has lent itself to a close relationship.

That also includes the occasional challenge which Shuler might pose to Furrey, the former NFL-er who played wide receiver and safety.

It's all in good fun and helps Shuler stay crisp while building a bond with his coach.

"When coach Furrey came, I was the first one to really talk to him," Shuler said. "I knew he was the right coach for our offense. He is like a father figure to us. Anything we need, he'll jump out to get it. He'll borrow cleats and get out there and show us the routes if he needs to -- anything for us to be where we need to be."

Shuler will likely take it easy for the majority of this week to keep his body fresh, but rest assured, he'll be right and ready for the Aug. 31 season opener against Miami (Ohio).

STRIPELESS MOO-MOO: Devon Smith, a.k.a. Moo-Moo, officially had the red stripe removed from his helmet following the afternoon session on Tuesday. The red stripe is put on all newcomers' helmets and doesn't come off until the coaching staff and teammates deem the player has done enough to earn a green stripe.

Smith, who had been in the slot while Shuler was injured, got in some work on the outside as well, according to Shuler.

QB CLUB CASINO NIGHT: The Huntington Quarterback Club will host its Casino Night in the Don Morris Room of Memorial Student Center from 6:30 to 11 p.m.on Saturday.

Tickets for the event are $100 and includes QB Club membership for the year, food and beverages. Those can be purchased by contacting a current QB Club representative or by calling the Big Green at (304) 696-4661.

Grant Traylor is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or gtraylor@herald-dispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter (@GrantTraylor).

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