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Chuck Landon: Post-season honors show Herd's true potential

Dec. 11, 2012 @ 11:25 PM

Another day, another honor.

That's been the case recently for Marshall University football players.

It seems nearly every day, Conference USA or a national media outlet or one of the various dot-com websites is bestowing an honor on a Herd football player.

Rather amazing, isn't it?

I don't believe I've ever seen a team that was so disappointing and fell so short of expectations still get decorated to this extent.

Just consider the list of honors.

RAKEEM CATO: The sophomore quarterback was named C-USA Most Valuable Player by the league's coaches. He also was selected all-conference first team.

Then, CollegeSportsMadness.com picked Cato as C-USA's Offensive Player of the Year. And the Columbus Touchdown Club named Cato as a "Player to Watch" for 2013.

D.J. HUNTER: The first-year linebacker was named a Freshman All-American by The Sporting News. Hunter also was selected to C-USA's All-Freshman team. He also received honorable mention on the CollegeFootballNews.com Freshman All-American team.

TYLER WILLIAMS: The punter was selected as a first-team Freshman All-American by CollegeFootballNews.com. He also was named to C-USA's All-Freshman squad.

KEVIN GROOMS: The running back was selected as C-USA Freshman of the Year by the league's coaches. He also was named to the C-USA All-Freshman team and was an honorable mention selection on the CollegeFootballNews.com Freshman All-American team.

Joining Grooms, Hunter and Williams on the C-USA All-Freshman team was center Cam Dees.

TOMMY SHULER: The wide receiver was named All-CUSA first team. Joining him on the second-team were strong safety Dom LeGrande, tight end Gator Hoskins and wide receiver Aaron Dobson.

This is by far the most honors any Marshall team has received since the Herd joined C-USA eight years ago. And it's not over. There are still more all-American squads and all-league teams to be named.

So, what's wrong with this picture?

A 5-7 record, for one thing.

How does a team post a disappointing 5-7 record in 2012 when it had enough talented players to garner all these honors and awards?

That just doesn't add up.

Something is wrong somewhere when all these individual honors don't translate into team success.

It simply isn't supposed to work that way.

I mean, just imagine how many honors Marshall's players would be piling up if the Herd had managed a winning season or even a victory over an opponent with a winning record in 2012.

Workers would have needed wheelbarrows to carry all the plaques into the Shewey Building.

That's the way it should have been. All these post-season honors just show how inexcusable a 5-7 record was last season. It is the litmus test.

And it's all very telling.

The talent obviously was there. The prolific amount of awards and honors proves that.

So, why did Marshall go 5-7 with all this talent?

Was it coaching? As in lack thereof. Was it chemistry? Was the inept defense enough of a difference-maker to change a potentially successful 8-4 season into a 5-7 disappointment? Will a new defensive coordinator solve the problem? Or is that merely one of several issues that need to be corrected?

All of the above.

What everyone suspected has been proven by the post-season parade of awards.

The talent was there.

Chuck Landon is a columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827, or email him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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