Aug 25, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – The four new skyboxes that will open Saturday night at Edwards Stadium aren’t the only thing different up in the air for Marshall Football.
While veteran offensive coordinator Bill Legg will make his play calls from the Herd coaches’ box again this season, he will be joined by two newcomers to the booth – tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Todd Hartley for the offense and linebackers coach Adam Fuller on defense.
Coach Doc Holliday said coordinator/secondary coach Chuck Heater and line coaches J.C. Price and Sean Cronin will work on the sidelines for the defense. The offensive coaches on the sideline for the opener against Miami (Ohio) will be receivers coach Mike Furrey, running backs coach Thomas Brown and line coach Alex Mirabal.
Holliday has six new assistant coaches on a nine-man staff of aides.
“For the most part, the coordinator is always on the field on defense,” Holliday said. “Chuck’s always been on the field. He’s great there and likes it there. He’s there to make adjustments.
“And it’s a real plus having a guy upstairs who has been a (head coach) and coordinator before -- and the caliber of coach that Adam Fuller
is -- that’s going to help Chuck.”
Fuller was previously a head coach at Assumption (Mass.) and a coordinator at Chattanooga.
Offensively, Holliday said, “having Billy and Todd both up there, it’s easy for Billy coordinating to see the coverages and to make calls, and Todd will help with that.
“Last season, Todd was on field (safeties coach). He coached defense, and with him having coached both sides of the ball can only help Billy with coverages, fronts, blitzes. Todd’s an extremely smart young guy and he’ll keep Billy up-to-date and allow him to concentrate on getting the calls down to us.”
Meanwhile, what Legg, Hartley and Fuller might be most excited about is with the extensive renovations to go with the skysuites construction on the top level of the pressbox, there are now restrooms on that level.
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The news last week that the Herd will wear uniform jerseys this season with no player surnames on the back … wasn’t exactly news in the head coach’s office.
Rich Worner, Marshall’s head equipment manager, said Holliday came to him back in January and inquired about no-name jerseys. The Herd wore jerseys without player names for the Green-White spring game, but if anyone noticed, not much was made of it – until Holliday’s announcement of his plan Thursday night in Charleston at the “Paint the Capital City Green” festivities.
Marshall went to names on jerseys for the first time for the 1991 NCAA division I-AA national championship game in Statesboro, Ga. – a 25-17 loss to Youngstown State. The last “no-name game” for Marshall was its 14-7 home semifinal win over Eastern Kentucky.
“We made it official here recently,” Holliday said of his announcement. “It’s something I felt strongly about. We’ve been working extremely hard and we’ve become a heckuva football team. This is not about individuals, it’s about team, and the one team we’re concerned about is Marshall.
“Before spring, I talked about doing it way back and I asked Rich how far ahead I had to tell it for him to get something done. So, I told him unless I tell you different, don’t put them on there. So, it’s been in the making for quite a while.
“It’s just something that … I’m trying to find every way I possibly can to emphasize the team concept, and not playing for anything but the team. It’s just a small token, but you know what? Is it a big deal?
“I don’t know, but you never know exactly what makes the difference between winning and losing, but if it helps us be a very good football team, then great.”
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The 19 seniors on the Herd roster won’t be alone in their final seasons at Edwards Stadium.
The FieldTurf is “running out of eligibility,” too.
Prior to the 2014 season, “The Joan” will get a new carpet, with the Herd installing an AstroTurf surface – mimicking that of the AstroTurf GT Plus that’s the Hoops Family Field at the new Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex.
The 2013 season will be the ninth for the current FieldTurf surface – installed in ’05 as an $855,000 project -- at the stadium, which not only has taken football game and practice pounding, but also been utilized for men’s and women’s soccer and baseball and softball practices.
The Herd had an AstroTurf brand field at the stadium from 1998 through 2004.
The new turf is estimated to cost in the $800,000 range.
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Meanwhile, Edwards Stadium is growing … or the seating capacity is, anyway.
With the addition of the four skyboxes, “The Joan” capacity grows to 38,227. The official capacity for each new box is 52 seats, so it’s an addition of 208, reports Aaron Goebbel, the Herd’s Associate Athletic Director of External Affairs and ticket chief.