CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – In this week’s episode of ‘Hangin’ with the Herd’ we talk the Sun Belt, the transition to the new conference, and how different players feel about the move.
“Going into a new conference, you have to have that confidence,” said senior defensive lineman Koby Cumberlander. “You can’t go into a new conference scared…”
“I’m really excited to be playing in the new conference,” said quarterback Henry Colombi. “It’s a chance for Marshall to make a statement. That we belong in the Sun Belt, and we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
Marshall football is now officially part of the Sun Belt conference.
Even though it’s a new conference, some of the guys have played some of these teams before.
“It’s like you got App State, Coastal, Louisiana… and those are phenomenal teams. Phenomenal teams,” said Cumberlander. “And you’re going in there and you gotta prove them wrong. Because they’re looking at us like ‘oh they’re just Marshall.’ But to me, when you play us, you’re gonna have a tough time. And it’s been proven. Every time we play those guys.”
Last season, the Thundering Herd faced three teams that are in the Sun Belt.
They traveled to App State in late September, and lost by one point. They beat Old Dominion in overtime 20-13, and they lost a competitive bowl game in New Orleans, to Louisiana.
This week was the Herd’s first ever Sun Belt media days.
Both running back Rasheen Ali and linebacker Eli Neal accompanied head coach Charles Huff to the Big Easy.
“We’re really just excited to come into the new conference and just be able to compete,” said Ali. “We’re willing to face all the adversity that’s thrown our way. We’re a strong team, we work hard together. We have a brotherhood, and we’re just super excited just to come here and compete.
“We know that coming into the Sun Belt, it’s a whole new wave of competition,” said Neal. “But this is what we live for. This is what we play the game for, this is what our fans are looking forward to. We’re just excited to get a new chance, a new start, and get a whole lot more exposure this year.”
Some more exposure, and some stronger competition.
“You know, making the transition to the Sun Belt conference, from a competitive standpoint to me, there’s a lot more competitive balance in the Sun Belt,” said Huff. “You look there are three or four teams ranked in the top 25. Three or four teams have consistently won 8, 9, 10 games a year. So for us to move into this conference and compete at that level, but also keep some of the regional rivalries, I think it’s a positive. I think our fans will enjoy it, and will embrace the regional travel.”
Tune in every Friday night at 11 for more ‘Hangin’ with the Herd!’