HUNTINGTON — There are three passions in the life of Marshall offensive lineman Will Ulmer: friends/family, football and music.
The first two are well known by Marshall fans who have seen him on the field and in the community representing the Herd successfully since his redshirt freshman season.
The latter is not one that is overly known, but it is something that also gained him some notoriety in 2018 after Ulmer strapped on a guitar and busted out the chords for Luke Combs’ hit “When It Rains, It Pours” while several Marshall teammates joined him in singing the song.
That video has reached nearly 100,000 views since Ulmer put it out on social media last May, and Ulmer has continued to push his musical talents on guitar and with country and bluegrass.
“Music is a big part of my life,” Ulmer said. “I play guitar, a little bit of banjo and I try to sing a little bit. It’s fun because we can get all the football boys together and bond outside of football with it. It gives us an opportunity to get together and have fun.”
The musical talent is a testament to Ulmer’s versatile talents, an aspect that has served him well in the Herd’s spring practice of 2019.
Ulmer’s versatility has allowed Marshall’s coaching staff to play him at several different positions, so that younger linemen can get experience all around the offensive front.
Just how versatile is Ulmer?
In the first six practices, he saw action at four different positions — both tackle and both guard spots — along the offensive front. The only position in which he didn’t take a repetition was at center.
“I think it’s key for him and all of our players to understand playing multiple positions,” Marshall offensive line coach Greg Adkins said. “It’s critical to understand the scheme. To me, if a guy can play multiple positions, he understands the problems of the guy beside him better because he’s been there.”
Ulmer has started 22 games for the Herd, including all 13 games at left tackle in the 2018 season.
However, the addition of Josh Ball and the growth of Dalton Tucker after an offseason in the weight room could lead to a position change for Ulmer in 2019.
Ulmer and Ball have each seen repetitions this spring at right tackle with 2018 starter Tarik Adams having been sidelined as he recovers from injury.
Ulmer, from Richmond, Kentucky, has also seen time at both guard spots with the graduation of Jordan Dowrey and Alex Mollette still working back from a torn ACL.
For Ulmer, there are vast differences between the positions along the offensive line, but he’s working each day to grasp each one, which helps his overall understanding of how the unit works.
“There’s a lot of terminology and technique stuff that’s different,” Ulmer said. “All in all, I’m really grateful for this because it’s helped me become a better overall player this spring. I’ve got to have a concept of what everyone else does on the front.”
Once spring concludes, Adkins and the staff will break down the spring film and make the best assessment for the future of the offensive line.
Ulmer could be at left tackle, left guard, right guard or right tackle.
And whether it is left side or right side, that’s all right by Ulmer.
“I just look at the more positions that I can play, the more opportunities I can get out on the field and help us win football games,” Ulmer said. “Coach Adkins always says that the best five will always be on the field and whatever it takes to win, I’m willing to play wherever.”
In a day and time where players center themselves on one position and playing time and individualistic aspirations, Ulmer is a bit of a throwback in that his biggest 2019 worry is that the offensive line creates the perfect harmony — just like his music.
If the Herd is able to do so, it would be music to Ulmer’s ears.
For this Bluegrass State resident, there’s nothing better than that.