MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WOWK) — Day three of bowl week is in the books at Myrtle Beach.
Today’s practice was a little chillier, but the intensity on the field was the same. These guys all working hard to finish this season with a big bowl win.
Something that means so much to a sixth year like Isaiah Norman.
Norman had quite the college football journey. He began in the FCS at Austin Peay, and is ending it here, at a division one FBS program, in Marshall.
He’s never been to a bowl game, so this week has meant a lot to him.
“I’m taking it all in,” said Norman. “This is my sixth year of college, my last season. Last collegiate game. I’m taking it all in. I try not to get sentimental, it’s kind of tough though. But I love it. Coming from the FCS, a small school… then coming to school like this. Prestigious, historical. I just love to be a part of it, and I love to help this team, for real.”
Norman made it to a strong program, but was still faced with obstacles throughout the season.
He had a few tough injuries, but was able to battle back from them; to be here, working to help get the Thundering Herd their ninth win of the 2022 season.
“This being my last year, I came here to up my draft stock. Or try to, you know, get drafted,” said Norman. “And getting hurt, hurts those chances. So you try to get back as fast as you can. And I’ve been hurt before numerous times in my career. So I know how to bounce back from it. It’s more mental than physical.”
On the offensive side, this will be the first bowl game sophomore quarterback Cam Fancher has started in.
Fancher was named the starting quarterback for the Herd midway through the season. His teammates, coaches, and himself, believe he’s really embraced the role and has grown a lot in these last few months.
‘…how have you personally grown?’ “I feel like in just my preparation,” said Fancher. “With Coach Trickett, with Coach Huff, I feel like they’ve prepared me to be where I am today and without them, I wouldn’t have the growth I’ve had.”
“He’s done a phenomenal job,” said offensive coordinator Clint Trickett. “Even in practice. In the game tape, you see it week to week. The improvement is week to week. Not like year to year, which is what it is for most quarterbacks. So how much he’s improved, literally every day, every practice, every rep… it’s definitely exciting. He’s a phenomenal kid. A phenomenal player. And I just love coaching him. I love the kid.”
This offense has been through quite a bit of trials and tribulations this season, a new conference, coaching changes, a quarterback switch, injuries.
But here they are, almost crossing the finish line, with eight – possibly nine – wins. And one of the most dominant rushing attacks in the country.
“It’s been a journey,” said Trickett. “It’s been a journey. Some injuries happen, all that stuff. Coaches leaving. Changes in starting quarterbacks. It’s been a journey. But the players have done a phenomenal job. All year long. Doing everything we’ve asked them to do. Coach Huff, obviously it starts with him. And when the leadership up top doesn’t waver, then the ship stays where it needs to be.”
Later on, the boys went bowling… literally!
The Herd was able to take some time to enjoy each other’s company while, of course, competing in something.
These guys – as you can imagine – are quite competitive.
“I’m not gonna lie, I’m not trying to be cocky. But I think I’m the best,” said linebacker Abraham Beauplan.
But for some, this was just not it.
“Oh I’m doing real bad right now,” said offensive lineman Dalton Tucker. “I mean it’s awful. I just can’t tune it in.”
We’re just two days away from game day, and that kelly green is already flooding the beach.
Something the guys… knew would happen.
“This is probably going to be like a home game for us,” said Tucker. “Just because our fans love Myrtle Beach so much. So it’s gonna be really fun. The atmosphere we’re going to have, I mean everyone on vacation, everyone watching the Herd… it’ll be fun.”
“When you play for the Herd, it’s more about the fans,” said Beauplan. “And they care about the players. So I know they’re going to come out, and support us like they have all season.”
Tomorrow is the day before game day. So there will be press conferences all Sunday afternoon.
You can follow along on WOWKTV.com, and follow Cassidy Wood on Twitter: @CassidyWoodTV, as she’ll be live tweeting all day.
Tune in Sunday night at 11pm for a full recap of day four of bowl week.