Aug 25, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – For the second time in four days, Marshall Coach Doc Holliday changed tradition and put a “team” stamp on his 2013 football team.
At the August camp-wrapping meeting of the Thundering Herd on Sunday night, there was no vote for team captains for the season. Instead, Holliday announced Marshall will go with four week-to-week captains chosen by the coaching staff.
Called to the front of the team to serve as captains for Saturday’s season opener against Miami (Ohio) were four seniors – end Jeremiah Taylor and cornerback Monterius Lovett for defense, and running back Essray Taliaferro and tackle Garrett Scott for offense.
Each player spoke briefly, after an introduction of praise by the Herd coach.
“The biggest thing we need to do is trust,” Lovett said. “Trust one another … players and coaches.”
Taylor, one of the five season captains for the Herd in 2012 – and the only junior with four seniors then – said he was “just blessed to be part of this group … I’ve been here five years, came as a walk-on, and I haven’t seen a whole bunch of leaders like this.”
That’s the point, Holliday said.
It’s also why he toted more than 20 players to Charleston last week for the “Paint the Capital City Green” celebration – when he also announced that players’ surnames would not appear on the backs of Herd uniform jerseys this season, emphasizing the “team” aspect.
“I felt like we had a lot of leaders in this (team meeting) room and I think everybody deserves the opportunity to be that guy,”
Holliday said. “And
I think sometimes when you just name four permanent captains for the season, some guys might think, ‘My leadership role is over.’
“I don’t want that.”
In more than three decades as a major college assistant and head coach, Holliday said he’d never been with a team that chose weekly captains. He said new Herd defensive coordinator Chuck Heater had experienced that option, however, and Holliday thought the move right for this team.
“I liked the idea for obvious reasons and we have quite a number of guys in this room that fit that mold,” Holliday said.
He said the captains from the Herd games this season will be able to become considered permanent team captains for 2013 by a team vote at the end-of-season banquet. Those chosen by player vote will be honored as the team captains then.
“Throughout the season, we’ll pick captains based on the week of practice, game performance, leadership,” Holliday said. “Probably on Mondays (after a Saturday game) the coaches will decide for the week and then we’ll tell the players, and those four will address the team that week at the team’s Friday night dinner.”
Holliday said the four opening-game captain selections were based on “performance and leadership” in camp. “These four guys did a great job,” he said.
The Herd coach said any player on the team – no matter what year in school – could be selected. He said it’s possible there could be repeat captains, too.
“Absolutely,” Holliday said. “Garrett Scott could be a captain every week if he plays hard, works his tail off and has great leadership. A few could have it multiple times. It’s about preparation, leadership, performance … all of the above.”
“We’ve got a lot of senior leadership here, a lot of junior leadership and even some sophomore leadership. We have 20-25 guys I can think of right now who would be great captains.”
He praised Taliaferro – who most Herd followers figured as a No. 4 running back but has been running with the first team most of camp – for his “commitment and accountability … This guy might surprise you (as a captain pick). He’s surprised me. He’s on a mission and he’s worked his rear end off every day.”
Scott said he was “honored” to be selected, and then delivered his first message as a captain.
“Everybody stay focused,” he said.
“The more guys we can pick from, the better we’ll be,” Holliday said.