Football: Bonds Built Not Just on the Field

Spencer DuPuis, Reporter

“Obviously, there isn’t a whole lot to be said, they’re a good football team, we aren’t a good football team right now. We did not meet the standards and expectations that should be met around here this year and we will go back to work tomorrow to make sure this never happens again,” Thundering Herd Head Coach Doc Holiday said after the loss to Western Kentucky that ended a 3-9 season in 2016.

What came after was a cultural change to the way the Thundering Herd run their summer camp, by including more team bonding. During off days, players and staff partook in pool parties, cookouts and movie outings, among other events.

Junior starting quarterback Chase Litton said that those are moments that will stay with him forever.

“People always over look little things like that sometimes, but people will never forget the stuff we did at the little pool party we had because of the fun and bonding we had,” Litton said. “Those are things you look back on in 20-25 years, and say ‘hey man remember the time we did this.’ I remember we went to the movies and we were watching “Planet of the Apes,” that’s not a funny movie, buy boy we made it a funny movie. Just being around the guys, that family, I’m just really looking forward to the season.”

Redshirt sophomore center Levi Brown said a big part of what he liked was being able to hang out with players he wouldn’t usually get to hang out with.

“Coach Doc Holiday, he incorporated some off days; if it was someone you didn’t see every day or talk every day, you got the chance to then, like outside of football,” Brown said. “So, we’ve bonded more as a team and feel like we are a better team than what we were this time last year, or at any point last year.”

Senior safety C.J. Reavis said that this offseason helped them build as a team mentally that he felt they didn’t have last year. This is Reavis’ first year here after transferring from East Mississippi Community College after his prior time at Virginia Tech.

“One of the biggest things we harped on this offseason was becoming a team and trusting each other,” Reavis said. “If we can do this while listening to what coach is teaching us, and really harp on that, and stay together this year, we will be fine. We talked about trust all offseason, since like January, so pretty much everyone has bought in. I feel like that’s the biggest thing: everybody being all in.”

Redshirt sophomore defensive end Marquis Couch said that having those activities built friendship and brotherhood in ways just being on a field together can’t.

“We’ve been working from spring to summer to [now]; everybody has been getting together trying to get that connection on the field and off the field,” Couch said. “We’ve been doing little cook outs and stuff too. Just to come in and get with each other and have a great time and build that brotherhood.”

Couch went on said that this summer built up a lot of different communication lines that weren’t previously there.

“There are other things outside of football just to interact with people,” Couch said. “You can see someone’s real personality, how they act, how they carry themselves and you could say ‘yeah, I can bring this guy around me,’ you might have something in common. So those are the things besides football that you could do to build brotherhood throughout the team.”

The Thundering Herd take the field for the first time in 2017 Saturday night for a 6:30 p.m. kick off against Miami (Ohio) at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.