Back-to-back bye-weeks, COVID edition

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Zachary Hiser

The Marshall University football team runs out onto the field before the Appalachain State game.

This is the second week in a row that the Marshall University football team has a bye-week. This is due to the coronavirus and its constant changes, cancelations and postponements of games in college football. 

Originally, the Herd was supposed to face the Rice University Owls to kickoff Conference USA action on Saturday, Oct. 3. However, Rice had to postpone the start of its 2020 season due to coronavirus cases.

Marshall defensive coordinator and safeties coach Brad Lambert said these aren’t normal times, but it’s important to keep working hard.

“It’s just not normal. Normally, you have a date off and then you go back to work,” Lambert said. “Normally, during an open date, we try to go back to the fundamentals. We’ve tried to focus on the younger guys getting reps. It’s been good work, but your challenge is keeping them sharp. You want to continue to play.”

The Herd’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tim Cramsey said it’s hard to keep the team focused but it’s important to take one day at a time.

“We’ve been preaching this since it started in March. You’re living one day at a time,” Cramsey said. “We got to stay focused with what we’re doing. We’re focused on getting better. It’s good for everybody. It’s hard to keep everyone focused. You just have to focus on what you are doing today, and everyone will benefit from it.”

Now, Marshall (2-0) will prepare for its C-USA rival, the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers (0-2). 

Redshirt junior defensive lineman Koby Cumberlander said bye-weeks are beneficial to the team.

“It’s a good time for us to rest up,” Cumberlander said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to practice. We’re planning to take it all this year. We’ve been dreaming for this moment for a very long time.”

Redshirt senior tight end Garet Morrell said bye-weeks are a good way to prepare as if the Herd was actually playing this week.

“We haven’t had this chance in the five years of being here. We’re going to prepare as if we are playing a team this week,” Morrell said. “A lot of people want to play, but due to the circumstances, so why not take advantage and practice. This will help us win games.”

Morrell emphasized that conference play is what matters when going for one goal: winning the Conference USA title.

“There’s little things that have to be hit,” Morrell said. “When going into conference play, it’s what counts. We don’t want to be the team that relies on other teams. It’s going to add up at the end of the day.”

The Herd and the Hilltoppers will square off in Bowling Green, Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 10. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. EST/ 6:30 p.m. CST.

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected]