The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

August 22, 2012

Van Horn confident of success with Herd

Woodrow grad believes in his head coach

HUNTINGTON — Despite their substantial size — and age — difference, Marshall offensive lineman Clint Van Horn doesn’t plan on challenging coach Doc Holliday to a wrestling match.

“No. Never,” Van Horn said with a smile across his face. “He’s a state champ.”

Van Horn has as much respect for Holliday’s past achievements as he does for the Hurricane native’s abilities as both a coach and recruiter.

The Beckley native seems as confident as anyone that the Thundering Herd will have a successful year this fall. That confidence is based on the caliber of players Holliday has brought to Marshall in his first three seasons.

“This year we have great expectations, just because we have the skill to do it,” said Van Horn, a 2011 Woodrow Wilson graduate. “Doc’s brought in some tremendous recruits.

“We have (running) backs he brought in that are capable of making plays every time they touch the ball. Any time they touch the ball it could be a touchdown.”

Van Horn first walked on campus last fall as a greyshirt. He was able to work with the team, but did not count toward the 2011 recruiting class.

That gave Van Horn, 6-foot-5, 303 pounds, the fall and all of spring to do all that was necessary to get ready for this, his true freshman season.

“It was a good experience,” he said. “I got my body up to where it needs to be to hold myself up on the field. Coming in as a freshman, you’re going up against guys who are bigger than you, stronger than you, and offensive line is one of those positions where development is really important. These guys are the biggest guys on the field. You’re coming right into it. It’s different.”

The offensive line returns three starters in guards Garrett Scott and John Bruhin and center Chris Jasperse. Scott is a 6-foot-5, 310-pound junior, while the oft-injured Bruhin (6-5, 312) is actually enrolled in graduate school but has one more year of eligibility remaining. Jasperse (6-4, 283) is a redshirt sophomore.

And the intensity of first-year offensive line coach Geep Wade has helped.

“Coach Wade has done a tremendous job with our feet,” Van Horn said. “The way we play is really different. He has changed our mentality. It’s just a huge difference.”

Van Horn was a first-team all-stater in 2010, and in 2011 he was a state wrestling runner-up at the heavyweight division. It was just his second season on the mat.

Now he’s ready to do his part to help the Herd win it first Conference USA championship.

“It’s just real intense,” Van Horn said. “It’s good to see how we transitioned into everybody caring at the same time. Everybody has the same goal. Everybody wants to win. Everybody wants to win the conference. That’s our goal — and to win as many games as possible.

“We don’t expect anything less.”

— E-mail: gfauber@register-herald.com

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