Musil returns close to home for final season
By CONOR NICHOLL
Marshall Musil, a La Crosse High School graduate and one of the best prep football players in northwest Kansas history, had a choice. He had spent four seasons at University of Oklahoma and mainly played as a reserve fullback and on special teams. He played in 19 contests in the last three years, but was set to play behind Trey Milliard, widely considered the nation's best fullback, and on special teams, for the 2013 season.
Musil, who graduated in May, could stay with the Sooners. Or, he could transfer to Fort Hays State University and play his final season close to home with the Tigers. Musil decided to come to Hays.
"I wanted to have a bigger part of the game of football again," Musil said.
After he missed virtually all of last season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Musil has worked in a couple roles, including No. 2 tight end.
"It's been a challenge, honestly," Musil said. "It's been good, though, I think, my family is excited. It's been awhile since I have played football. It's been a year almost. It's just good to be back around the family, friends, everywhere. I miss Norman, but who wouldn't after you spend four years there? It's a nice place."
Musil called the decision to transfer "all me," but did talk it over with his family and former high school coach Ryan Cornelsen, now at Hays High School. His close-knit family includes his older sister, Meredith. She moved down to Oklahoma with Marshall and had a teaching position.
When she found out Marshall was going to transfer to FHSU, Meredith put in her leave notice without first finding another job in Kansas. Now, she lives in Holyrood and teaches at Great Bend.
The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Musil said there was little difference in the day-to-day operation between Oklahoma and Fort Hays. The signals are different between the programs, but the concepts are similar.
Offensive coordinator Justin Schreiber said Musil "started to make a difference" during the last 10 days of camp. Musil and junior tight end Zack Gaughan, a Hays High School graduate, could see plenty of passes. FHSU has often used the tight end, especially in the last five years.
"Run blocking, I think he is really good out on the edge," Schreiber said. "When he starts locking up guys, he has got a good, solid base, maintains a block. Pass game, we look to hopefully get him a little bit more involved.
Late in camp, some of the running plays still gave him trouble. He is expected to see plenty of time.
"I hadn't played in awhile, so when I got out there, I am still rusty and I don't know if all the rust will come off by the end of the season or not," Musil said. "I hope. I am getting better every day. It's starting to come back to me.
"I could feel a couple of practices (last) week that I was getting back to my speed that I needed to be, that I played at, that I practiced at for four years," he added. "I just hope that maybe the lights on Thursday night will help me get it back up."