HUNTINGTON - When Marshall University takes the field for its annual Green-White football scrimmage Saturday, many fans will notice a new face working with the Thundering Herd offense.
The most prominent characteristic of that new coach can be summed up with one word: big.
Big guy, big personality, big energy. ... heck, even a big beard.
Big is what new tight ends coach Kyle Segler is all about as he comes to Huntington after spending last season at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
And, with the talent he's inherited at Marshall, Segler expects big things from his tight end group in the 2019 season.
"I've had some really special kids I've coached, but there's not many teams at this level that can say they have three legit starters," Segler said. "Between Armani (Levias), X (Xavier Gaines) and Devin (Miller), I've got three starters and Garet (Morrell) was doing a great job and progressing until he got banged up, so we've got the possibility of having four real guys in that room."
The growth in production was evident after Saturday's scrimmage when Miller caught three touchdown passes and reserve tight end Jacob Kirkendoll, a Lincoln County High School product, also hauled in another. Levias and Gaines had limited reps while younger players got action.
It's exactly the growth offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey wanted to see from the tight ends as he gets into year two leading the Thundering Herd offense.
When former tight ends coach Todd Goebbel left for the same spot at N.C. State University, there was one person - Segler - whom Cramsey suggested for the position to head coach Doc Holliday.
Cramsey and Segler worked together at Sam Houston State University during the Bearkats' successful run, which included plenty of FCS records and program records set.
"Me and Kyle, when we got together at Sam (Houston), we jelled right away and made sense to each other and fed off of each other, so he fits perfectly in that room with our coaches," Cramsey said.
Segler said when Holliday made the call, coming to Marshall and joining the staff became a no-brainer because it reunited him with Cramsey on a championship-caliber team.
"Being in a room and a foxhole with a guy you trust and you have a relationship with, that's what this business is all about," Segler said. "Tim and I had a great rapport at Sam (Houston). He and I really got close and, especially in this business, you find guys that you are on the same wavelength, and he and I fed off of each other there. We broke the records that were already set at Sam Houston when he came in. A lot of that came from that chemistry and being on the same page from an O-line protection standpoint and run-game standpoint and obviously, with the pass game."
For Segler, the chemistry is built through an overall balance of getting work done and teaching the game the right way while maintaining a fun atmosphere.
"He's really the best that I've been around in that we get work done and are efficient, but we have fun and it's a light mood in there," Segler said. "Part of the reason we have so much fun is the sense of humor that we've got. I've got a lot of stories with him - most we'll keep off the record - but it's a lot of movie lines and quotes and jokes. When you spend as much time together as we do, you've got to have that mood and keep it light.
"You can't be fourth-and-inches every day, dude. Too much goes into it from a work and effort standpoint to not have fun with it."
Cramsey said knowing the Herd's current offensive staff with personalities such as offensive line coach Greg Adkins, running backs coach Pepe Pearson and wide receivers coach Dallas Baker, there will be plenty of stories and fun to come in 2019 - both on and off the field.
"Him (Segler) and Coach Adkins are the same person," Cramsey said with a laugh. "His wife - she knew me - and she asked, 'Well, what's the rest of the staff like?' Kyle just told her, 'Picture me 25 years from now. That's Coach Adkins.' It's going to be a lot of fun getting all these guys together to orchestrate this offense."
For Segler, the bond built with Adkins is just as integral to success as the one he has with Cramsey.
Within the offensive scheme, the tight ends are going to serve as an extension of the offensive line, so merging those philosophies and skill-sets as blockers is just as important as route-running.
Adkins said the meshing of the minds has been fun this spring as the two get to know each other.
"It's been a hit right from the beginning - right from his interview to when he got here," Adkins said. "We have the same philosophy and same thought process in the run game and multiple positions. He understands what the problems are with certain things and I understand his issues at tight end on certain looks, so we work together to marry those up so we are the best we can be at both positions."
While the fun and execution are abound in the offensive room, Holliday took a more business-like approach when discussing Segler, touting what he brings to the team from a knowledge standpoint.
"No. 1, he's a heck of a football coach," Holliday said. "He's an excellent recruiter and he's been successful wherever he's been. Tim personally knew him and that was important to me that we got someone who we knew for sure about his work ethic and how he handles his players. He also played a big part in special teams. I was looking for someone in several areas and he kind of checked all the boxes."
As spring ball gets set for its final week, it isn't any surprise what Segler wants to see from the guys within his room.
Segler wants to see a big performance from the tight ends in Saturday's Green-White scrimmage because big is what he's all about.