HUNTINGTON - Running backs Kevin Grooms and Steward Butler were missing something this week at Marshall football practice. But it was something they didn't mind losing.
Grooms and Butler, both freshmen, had the red stripes removed from their helmets. That stripe signifies a newcomer on the Thundering Herd, and a team vote is what changes that red stripe to green.
Head Coach Doc Holliday said both backs have done well during preseason camp.
"You guys have been out here watching them and they've been doing some pretty good things throughout the camp," he said. "The rest of the players felt they deserved to have them removed."
While that color switch may seem like a small gesture, Holliday said it's a big deal for the players. It takes a lot of hard work to remove that stripe and be accepted as an established part of the team.
"It's amazing," he said. "(Kevin) Rodriguez came to me about a week ago and said, 'Coach, I had my red stripe taken off in the spring.' He shouldn't have had it back on. It means something to them. They're conscientious about it."
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HOLLIDAY DOESN'T think the new NCAA kickoff rules - teams now kick off from the 35-yard line - won't affect the kickoff teams much. He does think the kick return teams will have a lot to think about in a very short time.
"I think there will be a lot of decisions made whether to bring it out or not - how deep it is in the end zone, what's the hang time," he said. "Your off-returner and your returner have to do a great job of communicating when and when not to bring that ball out.