Chuck Landon: Cato not only hot QB in practice for Marshall
Kevin Anderson picked the wrong day to attend his senior prom.
Did he ever.
Although the true freshman quarterback graduated a semester early from Boca Raton (Fla.) High School, enrolled at Marshall and has been impressive during spring drills, Anderson missed a practice that turned into a quarterbacking extravaganza on a sunny Saturday at Edwards Stadium.
In fact, starting quarterback Rakeem Cato dissected the Herd's defense so efficiently, he shucked off his shoulder pads well before the practice was over so the other quarterbacks could have some fun.
And they did.
Blake Frohnapfel tossed a touchdown pass and again showed his running prowess in the zone read. Most of all, Frohnapfel operated the offense smoothly, which is a key for any second-team quarterback.
Why, even redshirt freshman Gunnar Holcombe got into the act. The No. 3 quarterback rifled an absolute laser of a pass through the Herd's secondary to Chris Alston Jr. for a 23-yard touchdown.
It was the most impressive pass of the practice on a day when the quarterbacks were the most impressive players on the field.
Long story short, each and every quarterback pretty much had their way with Marshall's defense.
Except, that is, for the absentee Anderson.
"He had his high school prom," said head coach Doc Holliday when asked about Anderson's whereabouts. "I guess he only has the opportunity to go to the (senior) prom once."
So, Anderson missed a chance to dance with "The Joan."
He also missed a chance to watch slot receiver Tommy Shuler catch a bubble screen, gain some yardage down the left sideline and, then, stunningly reverse his field and end up racing down the right sideline for a big play.
""I didn't know he could run that fast," ad-libbed Holliday with a grin. "Coach (Mike) Furrey (wide receivers) has been working a little bit with speed development there. Maybe it's helping."
And guess who Shuler's lead blocker was when he reversed his field?
None other than his old buddy, Cato.
Was that sight enough to make Holliday hold his breath?
"Nah," he said with another grin. "At times, our guys aren't very smart. But they ain't gonna hit him. They make some bad decisions at times, but I don't think that's one of them."
There was one bad decision during the practice, however. Overly enthusiastic freshman linebacker Stefan Houston actually ran ball-carrier Remi Watson into the concrete stadium wall right between the section 102 and 100 signs.
Shades of NASCAR's Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, huh?
The good news is unlike Hamlin, Watson was shaken up but not injured. In fact, Watson turned in a nice run during a 24-play live portion later in the practice.
All in all, it simply was a good day for the offense in every way.
"I thought the offense made some plays," said Holliday. "Cato has a total understanding of what's going on out there. When he's in there, they're hard to stop, to be honest with you."
That was very, very obvious Saturday.
The best part, however, is the offense clicked no matter who was playing quarterback - Cato, Frohnapfel or Holcombe. It probably would have clicked under Anderson, too, but he was busy renting a tux.
I just hope his date was pretty.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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