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Grant Traylor: Daniel ready for opportunity against Boilermakers

Sep. 27, 2012 @ 12:32 AM

Armonze Daniel is coming off of his best performance as a Marshall University football player just in time to go back home.

Daniel's starred at Avon (Ind.) High School, which is approximately just 60 miles from West Lafayette, and he is eager to get back and play in the Hoosier State once more.

He gets that opportunity Saturday when Marshall takes on Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium.

"I'm definitely excited, man, I'm going to be honest with you," Daniel said. "I'm ready to play, no matter what the circumstances."

Daniel is a young player who came to Marshall as a linebacker, but made the switch to defensive end to help the Thundering Herd's rush defense.

It has taken the redshirt freshman a bit to get adjusted to the new position, but Daniel finally got his feet underneath him against Rice last week.

"Armonze Daniel played 20-plus and made some good plays, which is critical for us to start rolling him in there more," Marshall head oach Doc Holliday said. "He's got some confidence and we have to trust in him and trust that he can make some plays. He'll play more now, and that's what it's all about."

Daniel said he is ready for whatever role he can find against Purdue, a school that he visited along with his younger brother Elijah while he was in high school.

He has implored teammates to give up their unused tickets for the game so he can accommodate his traveling party coming to see him.

"I've got like nine tickets in my locker right now," he said. "Some of my family, friends, my old coaching staff, some more family from Illinois -- they are all coming down to see me play."

Given Daniel's 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame and his experience at linebacker, he could become a critical piece to this week's puzzle for keeping the defense fresh against a Purdue team that is going to bring the ball right at the Herd behind its large offensive front.

Holliday stopped short of saying that he would be used at both linebacker and defensive end, however.

"The one thing that you have to be careful of with any young player is if you try to do too much with them, you get nothing out of them. ..." Holliday said. "We have to be careful with him and all of our guys of trying to give them too much to do because then they are thinking and not playing, and that can't happen defensively."

Still, Daniel is preparing as best he can to be involved in whatever role needed this week.

"I'm spending the restof the week preparing and studying so that I can do my job on Saturday," Daniel said. "Just going out to play that team gets me excited."

UNIQUE ATMOSPHERE: Ross-Ade Stadium is one of the more unique venues in college football.

It is one of few facilities around that still have natural grass, and there are no permanent lights at the stadium. For television games, portable lights are brought in by truck.

"It's a nice place to play," Marshall offensive coordinator Bill Legg said. "It's a great atmosphere and the field is a marvelous field. It's one of the few grass fields still left out there, and the grounds crew and the people involved with it do a marvelous job. Our kids will enjoy going there and playing. I firmly believe that."

QB CLUB: Doc Holliday is the speaker for Thursday's luncheon of the Huntington QB Club in Pullman Plaza Hotel. Doors open at 11:30 a.m.

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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