Football preseason camp for Marshall University has officially concluded, and the transition into game-week has begun.
On Saturday, the team's final camp session came in front of the incoming freshmen students as part of Marshall's WOW (Week of Welcome) festivities.
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday has said all along the practices prior to the season are the most integral portion for the success of the team. Now through 22 practices Holliday said he is excited about the progress, but remained steadfast that the Thundering Herd's journey isn't complete just because camp is.
"I'm not going to celebrate," Holliday said. "We've got a lot of work still to do."
For players and coaches alike, there is no feeling like getting done with camp, though.
The players are sick of hitting each other every single day, and now they are eager to get into game preparation for Miami (Ohio), which is only six days away with a 7 p.m. kickoff at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on Saturday.
"Camp is definitely a grind, but now that we can actually focus on an opponent, that's a nice little relief," said quarterback Blake Frohnapfel. "Going against your own guys for a while gets a little old -- gets really old, actually."
The feeling wasn't just limited to the quarterbacks involved, especially considering they have been in red (no-contact) jerseys the entire camp.
The happiest guys were those in the trenches -- the offensive and defensive linemen.
"We don't have to beat each other up anymore. That's the first thing that comes to mind," defensive lineman Brandon Sparrow said. "It's real. I mean, it's always been real, but we've got a real opponent and we're not giving ourselves competition."
Senior offensive lineman Jordan Jeffries, who completed his fifth preseason camp, echoed the sentiments of Sparrow.
"It's sad that it's coming to an end, but it's also very -- you know, what I mean -- it's a relief," Jeffries said with a smile.
Holliday's message to the team following the end of Saturday's practice was simple. The team has worked extremely hard to prepare for the season and now, it's time to take the next step and stay focused as games get started.
With camp now behind the Herd and the first opponent in front of them, the initial kickoff of the season is fast approaching.
Like the offense that will take the field, the Herd hopes to start fast this season.
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