Gear Fitted In Anticipation Of First Practice

Sophomore receiver Antonio Leath knows the first sign that Marshall football is getting underway when it gets strapped to his head: He gets his helmet fitted. Once that happens, the 5-7, 170-pound Leath goes into another gear. "Everything fits. Everybody gets excited when you get equipment," said Leath as he was fitted for his football gear just one day before Marshall football 2005 gets underway with summer practice...

"I'm just excited to get back in here and get ready to get on the field," Leath added after he had finished getting all his gear fitted by Marshall football equipment manager Rich Worner. "I'm ready to learn and ready to play."

Marshall football begins summer practice on Wednesday, August 3 at 3:45pm. This session of summer drills comes with more anticipation than most due to the fact that almost everything around the program is new: new conference (C-USA), new head coach Mark Snyder, new playing surface in FieldTurf, and new opponents to prepare for.

The new-ness might get the players excited, but the first order of business fell on Worner and his staff on Tuesday.

Antonio Leath had his helmet shell adjusted by equipment manager Rich Worner on Tuesday.

"We're just fine tuning things on the guys we already knew," said Worner of the hectic pace on Tuesday. "For the most part, it goes pretty smooth. Every player we will see today or tomorrow."

Marshall holds its annual media day on Friday, August 5 at Edwards Stadium, followed by a autograph session for fans at roughly 6:30-7:00pm. Fans will get their first look at the Marshall team in a Saturday practice from 3:20-5:20pm at Edwards Stadium. The first two practices are closed to the public, as are most others throughout the month of August.

That doesn't bother Antonio Leath, though. After sitting out a year, the sophomore from Burlington, NC is ready to practice and make an impression on the coaching staff as quickly as he can, now that he has the right gear.

"Having the new coaches makes it more exciting," continued Leath. "If you do good and impress the coaches, you have a chance to get on the field right away."

And speaking of fields, Marshall is in the final stage of the installation of a new FieldTurf surface at Edwards Stadium. The field should be ready to go for the first practice on Wednesday afternoon. And that only added to Leath's excitement.

Bags of sand and rubber fill were being applied to Marshall's new FieldTurf on Tuesday.

"All the guys are saying they really like the field," he added.

Just one more day before practice starts, and Antonio Leath has a new helmet and shoulder pads. Let the games begin.

"I'm just excited to be here and be a part of this new thing."

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