HUNTINGTON — Marshall’s football players and coaches won’t be taking the field this weekend.
However, that doesn’t mean they won’t be locked in on one game on Saturday.
All eyes from Marshall’s corner will be fixated on Boone, North Carolina, at noon Saturday as Appalachian State hosts Charlotte in the season opener for both teams at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
The pairing involves two of Marshall’s seven remaining scheduled opponents (subject to change) for the 2020 season, including next week’s matchup against the Mountaineers, which comes at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
In normal years, Marshall’s players and coaches may have elected to watch the games together and break down what they are seeing as a group.
For safety reasons, however, that will not be the case Saturday, as Marshall head coach Doc Holliday pointed out earlier this week.
“We’ll come in here Saturday morning and practice early,” Holliday said. “That game is a noon game on Saturday so we’ll get them out of here in plenty of time to go home and they can watch it on their own at home.
“I think the least amount of time you can get them together as a group is probably a good thing right now, so we don’t have anything like that [a team viewing]. They’ll go home and they can watch it on their own.”
That doesn’t mean there won’t be Zoom meetings and texts breaking down the information that each is seeing as the game progresses on Saturday, however.
Coaches will be sending their position groups some vital information, and players will bounce ideas of what they see back to their coaches for further analysis and breakdown.
It’s just part of the new way of doing business in the COVID-19 era of college football.
Regardless of the situation, Marshall has an extra week to prepare for Appalachian State’s visit to Joan C. Edwards Stadium, and the coaches and players plan on taking full advantage of that time.
Appalachian State head coach Shawn Clark, a George Washington High School graduate, was the associate head coach and offensive line coach last season for the 13-1 Mountaineers, leading the team to a bowl win over UAB in the New Orleans Bowl to end the year after head coach Eli Drinkwitz took the head coaching job at Missouri.
Clark’s position on the previous Mountaineers’ staff means that there may be some familiarity with tendencies and personnel from the 2019 team, which the Herd went over in film study this week in preparation for next week’s game.
However, the real breakdown of what the Mountaineers will look like in 2020 and what changes Clark implemented into the scheme of Appalachian State will surface against the 49ers on Saturday, which will provide the most accurate representation of the Herd’s task next week in Huntington.
“We’ve got a lot of work between now and then,” Holliday said.