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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Owls finish up first camp under Stockman

Friday, July 27, 2012

Senior lineman Mason Ryther hunts for a blocking target during the Owls' scrimmage against Santa Fe.
(Chris Allen/Democrat-News)
ALMA -- Hired only a month ago, new Marshall head football coach Jon Stockman's first priority is getting a handle on the program.

He's had the chance to do that over the last two weeks during the Owls' summer camp, which concluded today with a five-school scrimmage at Santa Fe -- Stockman's alma mater.

"To come out here and hit somebody else instead of beating up on each other is a great learning opportunity for our kids," said the former Missouri Valley College guard. "We're just treating it like practice, trying to get better."

Marshall has held its sessions in the morning, typically getting done by 10 a.m., before temperatures skyrocketed in the 100s later in the day. However, that still has meant generally hot, muggy conditions.

Even so, Stockman is encouraged by the players' effort and attitude.

"I've been real happy with the kids," he said. "We've got quite a few kids back out and they're working awfully hard."

For the Owls, putting behind last year's 0-10 mark is the top priority, but they appear determined to do just that.

"They're getting better each and every day," Stockman declared. "I'm excited."

Although with incumbent assistant coach Ian Verts in charge of the defense, Marshall may not make many changes on that side of the line. The offense, though, is an entirely different issue -- and getting players familiar with the veer-based scheme will take time.

"We've got our base run game and some of the quick-game and play-action stuff, and that's about it," Stockman explained. "We're going to keep it simple and try to get after people."

One of the biggest issues for the Owls in recent years has been the relatively low level of participation compared to other NCMC and Class 4 programs, with the roster dipping to the low 30s -- freshmen included -- at times last season. So far, numbers appear to be on the uptick.

"Kids still have vacations and some baseball, so they've been missing here and there, but we've had 55-60 kids every day," Stockman noted. "I hope we have even more Aug. 6."

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