Aug 24, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – Coach Doc Holliday’s fourth August football camp at Marshall ended Saturday evening.
Ditto for senior starting right offensive tackle Garrett Scott.
That breeze you may have felt from the vicinity of Edwards Stadium around 6 p.m. was a camp-closing Thundering Herd exhale after the third and final week of fall camp.
It’s Miami of Ohio, in the 2013 season opener next Saturday at Edwards Stadium (CBS Sports Network telecast at 7 p.m.). It’s the 42nd series game but the first meeting for former Mid-American Conference rivals in nine seasons, and first of a four-game, home-and-home contract.
After 22 days of practice, to say Holliday’s players are weary of green versus white would be an understatement about the size of the coach’s veteran offensive line that averages about 300 pounds per man.
“I’m very excited for first game because to be honest, I’m tired of going against JT (senior defensive end Jeremiah Taylor),” Scott, from Douglas, Ga., said of one of several Herd seniors on the defensive front. “Ra’Shawde (Myers, defensive end) head-butted me. I mean …
“I’ve taken about everything I could. We can’t cut (block) them, so I’m ready to cut somebody else, do everything I can against somebody else because it’s the last camp and I just want to ball up.”
Scott, a third-year starter, has become one of the mainstays on a promising Marshall team. New offensive line coach Alex Mirabal has seven seniors or fourth-year juniors in his two-deep. Holliday repeatedly has said since spring drills that the “big ‘uns” unit is a “strength for the first time.”
It isn’t much different on the defensive front coached by J.C. Price
and Sean Cronin
, which is senior-laden as well.
Good, veteran fronts usually translate into good football teams.
It’s chemistry,” said the 6-foot-5, 295-pound Scott. “You feel each other on the field. The guy next to you, you anticipate his moves. You get to know he’s going to move before he does it, just like you anticipate the defense moves.
“If on our side, (redshirt senior guard) Alex Schooler, or any other guard that’s been around us for a while, I know he’s going to come out and help me with a chip block.
It’s the same with the defense. Those guys up front know if one guy shoots this gap, the other guy knows how and where to fill. We’ve been here. We just have chemistry now.”
However, it’s not chemistry you can find in a lab or a textbook, said Scott, who has 21 career starts.
“It’s a freaky chemistry,” the veteran Herd tackle said. “It’s something you can’t explain. We’ve got the same mind, exactly, however strange that seems.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t say we’re better (than a year ago). It’s more about chemistry and it has a lot to do with Coach Mirabal. He’s showed us so many techniques, stuff I didn’t know even as basic fundamentals, stuff he showed us.
“It opened up a whole new world for us. Everybody is now conditioned and prepared to play the best football they’ve ever played.”
Scott said the Herd offensive line’s experience – much of it together – feeds into a Mirabal motto: “Five guys; one mind.”
“I would say the difference with us now … last year we had to make every call for one another but now I can just say something like, ‘Yo,’ and Jasperse can tell my (tone of) voice and he’ll know he should gap it on my side. So, different things we say, we just understand. Coach sat us down, we watch film. We go out and practice it.”
Scott played for Holliday’s first team as a true freshman, burning a potential redshirt when the line depth was puddle-sized, and he reflected when it was pointed out there’s been more stability in the line than in the line coaches.
Mirabal is his third at Marshall – coordinator Bill Legg for two years, then Geep Wade (now at the Herd’s Conference USA foe Middle Tennessee) last season and now Mirabal, brought in from FIU and universally praised by his MU charges.
“You can never stop learning,” Scott said of the coaching changes. “It’s not bad. You learn something different from all of them.”
So, what has he learned from Mirabal as the Herd heads into Week 1, 2013 season?
“Coach Mirabal, he said -- and I’m going to quote him – that on his gravestone, it will be engraved, ‘INSIDE HAND,’” Scott said, smiling. “So, it’s inside hand for me, and I don’t dare use that outside hand. It will be on that gravestone, he told me. I’m just quoting him.”
Scott was serious. Seniors can be that way … the way the Herd wants to go.