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Grant Traylor: Storm makes for tough conditions at Herd practice

Oct. 31, 2012 @ 12:02 AM

With 33 of Marshall's football players coming from Florida, the words "hurricane" and "tropical storm" don't really send off too many alarms.

However, throw out the word "snow," and many of the guys shudder.

"That's crazy because at home we'll get some wind and some rain," Marshall wide receiver Tommy Shuler said. If it comes here, it's cold, rain, snow and everything goes crazy."

This particular storm is like none that anyone has ever seen before.

Hurricane Sandy is dumping feet of snow on the ground in the northeast all the way to western North Carolina and is wreaking havoc on the entire eastern half of the United States.

Despite the conditions -- which included temperatures in the 30s, howling winds and blustery precipitation -- Marshall's players were back to work Tuesday getting prepared for Saturday's contest against Memphis.

"We know it's going to be a tough week for us to practice in, but this is what football is all about," Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato said. "Cold one day, hot the next. We just have to adjust to it."

The scenario did make Cato think to brighter days ahead, though.

"We've got to get that indoor facility," Cato said. "We're preparing for it."

For the time being, Marshall is headed outdoors to brave the elements and hopefully, get back on track on the field.

"Just suck it up," Marshall punter Tyler Williams said. "Put your pads, pants and shoes on and do what you do."

It would seem a little easier for Williams to say, given that he's a Midwest kid from Indiana, and he's seen his share of cold weather.

He said that isn't the case, though.

"I hate cold just as much as anyone else," Williams said. "Cold isn't something I really adapt to. Obviously, you don't want to play in snow or rain, but it could be worse. We could be at Penn State or something where they get terrible weather."

Regardless, players came in bundled up for practice and tried to stay warm as best as possible.

This particular date with Sandy isn't one the Herd players were eager to go out for.

"Nah, man," Shuler said. "We like the sun."

ODD SPECIAL TEAMS GAME: In Marshall's weekend contest against UCF, there were two kickoff returns for touchdowns and two extra points blocked.

It was the first time in Conference USA history the oddity occurred.

In fact, there had never been a contest in which a team returned two kickoffs for touchdowns before Saturday.

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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