Grant Traylor: Herd's spring has run its course
HUNTINGTON -- Spring temperatures might just now be showing themselves around the Tri-State, but for Marshall football players it is officially summer.
And they couldn't be happier about it.
Let's be honest.
There's nothing fun about spring football.
It's six days a week of alternating between lifting weights, meeting rooms and beating the absolute crap out of each other.
Heck, even head coach Doc Holliday commented that he's not a big fan of spring games after the completion of Saturday's Green-White game.
It's a grueling month of work in which coaches and players alike push themselves to pack in every single ounce of scheming, repetition and teaching possible.
Now, the 100 mph schedule is done following the completion of the Green-White game, which served as the 15th and final practice of the spring session.
There were plenty of smiles when the phrase 'It's over' was uttered to players following Saturday's scrimmage.
"In five weeks, it's a lot of hard lifting and practices are tough because they run really long," quarterback Blake Frohnapfel said. "It's good to get the chance to run out here and play football again, but it's good that it comes to an end as well because it's a grind."
While the spring is not exactly the most enjoyable time of year, this was the most important spring in recent memory for the Herd.
Not only were there several new coaches roaming around, but there were also many important new faces on the field -- primarily on the defensive side of the football.
Guys like Corey Tindal, Taj Letman and Stefan Houston were able to get an important month of work in to get acclimated to life as a Division I football player.
And all three factored into a much-improved defense that really turned it on the last two weeks of the spring.
"I'm going to miss it, but I'm glad to get out here and get ready for camp this season and learn what (defensive coordinator) Coach (Chuck) Heater has to offer me," Tindal said. "I feel like we accomplished a lot, but we haven't accomplished what we need to yet. We have a lot of room to grow, and I think we'll continue to under coach Heater."
Tindal was the only one out of 15 players spoken to that said he'd actually miss spring practice, and it's that desire to learn on the field that drew rave reviews from Holliday and teammates in the spring.
Now, with spring completed, the players shift their focus to the summer workout period where they will do much of their work in the weight room in an effort to get stronger for the fall.
Tight end Eric Frohnapfel outlined what players can expect heading into the summer workouts.
"The winter, the emphasis is always more on power; summer is always more on speed," Frohnapfel said. "I've already heard the forecast that we're going to some speed training, then workout, then run. So we are going to be doing a lot of conditioning -- that's definitely the focus -- so we can run at the fastest tempo possible."
Those four-time-a-week workouts get underway next week, so the rest of the players are intent on enjoying their favorite meal guilt-free this weekend before new strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Sinclair puts the clamps down.
They could all be heard following the spring game discussing where they were going to eat with names such as Fat Patty's, Giovanni's and Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe leading the way.
For Eric Frohnapfel, it's going to be a Fat Patty's or Taco Bell type of celebration until Monday.
"This is my last cheat weekend," Frohnapfel said. "I'm going to gorge with all the food that I can put in my body possible. Then, I'll be clean after that."
SPRING-GAME HOLDOUTS: Several players did not participate in Saturday's Green-White game at the discretion of the coaching staff.
Some of the notable players who missed the game included wide receiver Tommy Shuler, running backs Remi Watson and Kevin Grooms and defensive end Jeremiah Taylor.
"We know what Cato can do to a certain extent, we know what Shuler can do and Jeremiah Taylor and those guys," Holliday said. "We wanted to take a look at some of the younger guys and go play."
STARS ABOUND: There were plenty of big names roaming the sideline Saturday.
Albert McClellan and Omar Brown were on hand from the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, as was Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry, Pittsburgh Steelers center Doug Legursky and Indianapolis Colts linebacker Mario Harvey.
However, the most fanfare was shown for former Herd wide receiver Aaron Dobson, who had just been selected by the New England Patriots in the second round 24 hours prior.
Grant Traylor is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter (@GrantTraylor).
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