Quotes from Doc Holliday's Aug. 28 Press Conference


Marshall head coach Doc Holliday

Marshall head coach Doc Holliday

Aug. 28, 2012

Opening Statement:

            “Obviously you know its game week. We have an excellent opponent coming up. Anytime you’re going into someone else’s venue and playing a top-10 team that is picked to be either the first or second in the BIG12 conference, you know they’re an excellent team. They’ve [WVU] got great players at every position. Geno Smith probably is the best quarterback in America and has a shot to win the Heisman. He’s also picked to be the player of the year in the BIG12 conference and if it wasn’t him, it would most likely be Tavon Austin. We know we have a great challenge ahead of us and it’s important that we can practice starting today and the preparation will continue until noon on Saturday.”

On game planning for WVU offense:

            “You have to try to mix things up. Their receivers are going to get their catches. The thing we have to do defensively is try to limit the big plays. We also have to eliminate the yards after catch and get them on the ground. If you think you’re going to go out there and completely stop that offense, you’re not. We just have to limit the big plays and when they get catches we have to get them to the ground.”

On third down conversions:

            “We did a good job last year on first and second down, but we have to be able to get them off the field on the third down. At times Geno [Smith] hurt us when he rolled out of the pocket, broke containment and ran a little bit. Hopefully this year we will be more athletic on that second level and be able to track him down and get him on the ground. We had trouble with that a year ago and we have to get off the field on third downs.”

On the experience of Rakeem Cato:


 

 

            “I don’t think there’s any question that it definitely helps. A year I thought he handled his self pretty well. He has a full season under his belt he has to be better. We have to be better offensively and I think we will be. We still have a lot of young kids but those kids have been to that venue and played. They are walking in there for the first time and that will help to a certain extent.”

On the communication of the team:

            “Those guys evolve. Not only did they play WVU last year, but they went on the road and beat a good Louisville team a year ago. They went on the road and won a bowl game as well. So those guys have some experience and confidence that will carry over to this year.”

On the confidence of the linebackers:

            “I think the only guy we have that played a year ago is [Jermaine] Holmes who started some games at linebacker last year and he’ll play there again. A year ago Devin Arrington was playing safety and has played linebacker in the past. We have Evan McKelvey and Raheem Waiters who both were safeties a year ago. There’s not a lot of experience there, but there’s a lot of athleticism. I’m anxious to watch those guys play. I feel like we’re more athletic there. There’s a time that come when you’ve been working all winter and summer practicing to where, as a coach,  you just need to go out there and watch these guys play.”

On the kicking game and special teams:

            “He [Tavon Austin] may be the best return guy in the game right now. He’s an excellent player. Last year in our bowl game, we faced T.Y. Hilton of Florida Atlantic and held him to zero yards. I’m sure Austin will be returning punts also so it will be critical that we not only put the ball where it needs to be, but our coverage teams have to be really good.”

On the recruiting battle coming from this game:

            “It’s a big game because it’s our first one. It just happens to be West Virginia, but for me to sit here and tell you it’s not a big game, I won’t do that, because it is. It’s big anytime you play against a state rival. The kids enjoy playing it and I know the fans enjoy it. It’s important that we go up there and continue to prepare and play well.”

On the feel of Marshall vs. WVU:

            “If anybody ever said that they weren’t interested in that game I think they would be kidding themselves. Every year that game is sold out. I’ve had so many calls for tickets I could have probably sold out half of what they have left. There’s not a game I have been involved in that hasn’t been a sellout and a great TV game. It’s good for the state. I do regret seeing the series come to an end. I think it’s something that should continue, but I have more pressing issues than that. I have to make sure this team is ready to play this first game and the next games all the way to the end of the season.”

On getting faster, stronger guys:

            “We had to get more speed. Last year we weren’t as fast and weren’t a strong team. We still aren’t, but a lot stronger than last year. When I got here the first thing I noticed was the offensive line weakness. The strength and numbers of the offensive line were not good. Speed was also an issue. I think we have a lot more speed and are a stronger team, but we still have a ways to go in that department. I do think we’ve improved and gotten better.”

On Jeremiah Taylor:

            “He’s just a great kid. He was a 300 pound fat guy when he showed up as a walk-on here and look at him now. He’s changed his body. It’s a wonderful story and he’s a wonderful kid. You talk about guys making great decisions and taking on responsibilities that most men his age don’t have and a lot of them walk away from. But he’s hit it head-on, takes care of his kids and does things the right way with the right decisions. He’s a great captain for us and has a great future in this game. He plays hard and he is exactly what this program is all about.”

On the youth of the depth chart:

            “If you look at the first group there’s not a lot of youth, but there youth are backups and ours are our first unit. But that’s alright. I like our youth because they’re talented guys. They have a senior quarterback who has played for four years and Tavon who has started for three years. They have some really good players that are experienced and play a lot of football. As I mentioned before I have great respect for them, but our guys are going to play. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that our guys will show up to play and our coaches will be there too.”

On the health of Tron Martinez:

            “Tron has had two knee surgeries and he will not play this week. I don’t know that I’ve coached a tougher player that played with what he played with a year ago. He will not play this week, but he will not be ruled out for the future. He does have a year that he could sit. But we’ll see how that goes. That’s a decision that doesn’t have to be made right now.”

On WVU’s running backs:

            “Ryan Clarke’s a big fullback that’s an excellent player. Shawne Alston’s a good player. He looks like a fullback that is a tailback. Of course Andrew Buie played a lot for them a year ago. They have excellent backs and we will see how our linebackers hold up against them.”

On linebacker Derek Mitchell:

            “He’s played a lot of different positions, but we’ve moved him up to linebacker now. I think that is an advantage to have him on the second level where he can run around a bit.”