MU players not thrilled with off week
HUNTINGTON – Marshall University linebacker Evan McKelvey couldn’t even stand still when faced with a question regarding off-week.
He was fidgety and nervous and looked as though he couldn’t wait to explode the answer like he does on a ball-carrier from his spot on the Herd’s defense.
McKelvey is one of several players who are no fan of watching a weekend of college football on Saturday.
“I know it’s a good thing when it comes to injuries and stuff, but the fact that we have to sit on this (Virginia Tech) loss for that long, that’s awful,” McKelvey said. “I’d rather hurry up, get back out there, get that win and then I’d feel better about an off-week. It happens, though.”
For McKelvey, it isn’t just about the team losing.
It’s how they lost.
Many chances to win the game and many different moments to contemplate over the next nine days before getting back on the field Oct. 5 against UTSA for the 2 p.m. Homecoming matchup at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
“If we just made those plays, the game would’ve gone a whole lot differently and it would’ve been done before overtime,” McKelvey said.
McKelvey wasn’t the only one who shared the sentiment of wanting to be back in action this Saturday.
Marshall receiver Tommy Shuler said the loss left a bitter taste in the Thundering Herd’s mouth and there’s only one way to get it back out.
“To tell you the truth, I’d rather be playing,” Shuler said. “I want to be out there, but I guess we’ve got the bye week for a reason – just to calm us down and get us back to playing Herd football.”
Shuler’s talk about the bye week coming for a reason couldn’t have been more fitting, though.
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday spoke about many of the positives of bye week.
The most obvious are on the injury front where the Herd got banged up a bit in the hard-fought loss to Virginia Tech.
Holliday said players such as tight end Gator Hoskins and wide receiver Devon Smith, who were banged up in the game, will benefit the most from it while guys such as running back Kevin Grooms and defensive tackle Brandon Sparrow – both of whom missed the Virginia Tech game – will get an extra week to heal.
However, there was also another tone about the off-week that Holliday said was beneficial to the Herd.
“When you lose a game to a popular school like Virginia Tech, that’s all people want to talk about all week,” Holliday said. “If we had to line up and play this Saturday, kids on their way to class would still be talking about the Virginia Tech game even with UTSA coming in to play. I’m glad we can get this out of our system and move on.”
Holliday later said, though, that he understood the players’ perspectives on this week.
“They want to play and I’d like to get out there and get the taste out of my mouth, too,” Holliday said. “That being said, this week is going to help us because we need to get some guys back healthy and get ready to go.”
Marshall returned to practice Wednesday and will go through drills until Friday before the players get an off-day on Saturday.
On Sunday, it is back to a normal game week as the Herd gets ready for Homecoming 2013 and UTSA.