Marshall football hoping COVID-19 doesn’t derail season

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 10:46 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Heading into college football season, many fans aren't wondering how many games their team will win -- they're wondering how many games will be played.

Marshall University held its first practice of 2020 Friday afternoon. At this point, their opener against East Carolina on Aug. 29 is still on.

That’s a week earlier than most teams are scheduled to start playing games, so the Herd is starting practice earlier than most.

With spring football being cancelled, Friday’s practice marked the first time the team was back on a field together since their bowl game in December, before the sports world got shaken up by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s kind of freaky on a day-to-day basis, all the changes that can be made,” running back Brenden Knox said.

With non-conference schedules already changing, the question nationwide is how much the pandemic will disrupt the 2020 season.

“It’s hotter than hell wearing a mask and shield out there all day, I know that,” Head Coach Doc Holliday said after practice.

Holliday coached practice for the first time in his career in a mask and face shield. He says they’re preparing with the mindset the season will be played.

“For anyone to have a chance, we have to have consistent football players do what we ask them to do, or we have no chance of making this work,” Holliday said. “It’s not just what happens here on the practice field, it’s what happens when they leave here and go home. We’re not in a bubble. We have to try to create our own bubble, and that’s hard to do when you have a bunch of college kids running around.”

Players get daily temperature checks

Herd quarterback Grant Wells, a George Washington graduate who’s competing to replace departed quarterback Isaiah Green as the starter, says players are holding each other accountable to avoid risking catching COVID-19.

“The leadership on this team really has to step up right now more than in the past, because we know how vulnerable we are right now,” Wells said. “These guys are really stepping up in the leadership role and making sure guys are following the rules on the field and off the field to make sure we have a season.”

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