The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

August 18, 2013

Marshall deeper up front

Holliday sees offensive line as a potential strength in 2013

HUNTINGTON — It’s not that Marshall coach Doc Holliday never thought he had any talented offensive linemen. He just didn’t think there was enough of them.

But that will be one of the changes that Holliday sees as a strength for the first time as he begins his fourth season in Huntington.

“To be a good offense, we had to play at an up-tempo every game last year because when we started to slow things down a bit, we got out of sync,” Holliday said. “We weren’t quite good enough up front to block them, get hats on people and slow it down.

“To be a great offense, which is what we want to be, we’ve got to be able to change tempos, be able to slow it down when we need that, to help our defense a little bit. And I think our offensive line, being a strength now, can help us do that.”

New offensive line coach Alex Mirabal walked into a better situation that what existed a year ago, when the Thundering Herd had one of the top offenses in the country, but the lack of depth up front hurt Marshall’s ability to go as full throttle as it wanted.

That doesn’t seem to be a concern this season, which will begin Saturday, Aug. 31, at home against Miami (Ohio).

“The depth’s huge for us. We have nine or 10 guys who can come in and play,” center Chris Jasperse said. “It’s going to happen in a game where a guy loses a shoe or something comes up where’s got to come out, and you’ve got to bring a guy in — right now — and not miss a beat at all.

“In our offense, we’re going fast and we’re moving. We’ve got to be able to trust the next guy to come in and be able to do that. We have some guys right now that we can do that with.”

The line rotation will include the usual suspects from recent seasons, including Jasperse, a 6-foot-4, 289-pound redshirt junior, sophomore Cameron Dees (6-1, 275), redshirt senior Jordan Jeffries (6-8, 310), redshirt senior Alex Schooler (6-7, 303), redshirt junior Josh Lovell (6-6, 309) and senior Garrett Scott (6-5, 294).

Also, Beckley native Clint Van Horn (6-4, 294) received praise from Holliday in the offseason.

Senior Gage Niemeyer (6-6, 297) gained some playing time last season. There are also a handful of newcomers who are expected to play important roles in front of quarterback Rakeem Cato and open lanes for running backs Kevin Grooms, Steward Butler and Remi Watson.

“We’ve got to play more offensive linemen, and we can now,” Holliday said. “Alex thinks he’s got 10 offensive linemen, possibly as many as 12, that can actually go play and function in a game, and I think that’s huge. No longer does Chris Jasperse have to play 90-95 plays a game. Hopefully, he can go give us 60 real good ones and then Dees can go in there and give us another 30 to 40.”

The up-tempo pace of the offense magnifies the importance of having offensive linemen who are in prime condition.

“We’ve got to be in just as good condition as the wide receivers and the running backs, because after they make their 15-yard run we’re running right behind them,” Jasperse said. “Cato’s calling the next play and we’ve got to get going. It’s a lot of fun. It’s exciting to see what our backs and our receivers and what Cato and our quarterbacks can do with the ball.”

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • White anxious to put 2013 in the rearview

    The 2013 football season wasn’t exactly what Kevin White had envisioned when he made the decision to transfer from Lackawanna College, where he had 36 receptions for 535 yards and six touchdowns in 2012.

    July 31, 2014

  • Passions are high for the Big Four

    When it comes to the English Premier League, there are clubs and there are kings. 


    July 31, 2014

  • YMCA fall soccer registration underway
    Fall is just around the corner and registration is now open for youth soccer at the YMCA of Southern West Virginia.

    July 31, 2014

  • Steelers to retire Hall of Famer Greene's No. 75

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are retiring Hall of Fame defensive end Joe Greene's number No. 75.

    July 30, 2014

  • Steelers' Bell looking for more decisive, productive season

    Le'Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.

    July 30, 2014

  • Charges dropped against WVU RB Smallwood

    Prosecutors said all charges against 20-year-old Wendell Smallwood, who had been charged with witness tampering in the case, have been dropped.

    July 30, 2014

  • cato Word is out on Marshall's Cato

    Rakeem Cato is easily the face of Marshall football. He also has been mentioned as a darkhorse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. That status is legitimate.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • bush Bush making Saints look good

    For his first four seasons, Rafael Bush was simply looking to land on a roster — any roster.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Practice, not temps, heats up for Saints
    The temperatures may have only been in the low 70s Tuesday afternoon at the Saints new practice facility at The Greenbrier, but now a third of the way into the 15 practices, it’s clear that the heat has turned up with playing time and positions on the line.

    July 30, 2014

  • Bowles has a support system
    Colin Bowles, the 14-year-old little brother of Corey, is coming into his own as a successful athlete. The younger Bowles competed last week at the U.S. Junior Amateur in The Woodlands, Texas, making the cut before bowing out in match play. Right there beside Colin, as he has been his entire life, was older brother Corey,

    July 30, 2014

Saints Training Camp