Transcript of Doc Holliday's Weekly Press Conference
Marshall Preparing for the Friends of Coal Bowl
Sept. 4, 2010
Doc Holliday Press Conference Transcript Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010 - “Friends of Coal Bowl” Week
“Thank you for all of you being here. I apologize for you guys having to be here on a Saturday. You know what has happened is with us playing on a Thursday and now a Friday…I don’t even know what day it is. But, what we do is count back from the game and this becomes our Monday.”
ON LAST WEEK AT OHIO STATE: “I had the opportunity to play against Ohio State in the National Championship Game in 2006 (at Florida) and that is a better defense than the one we faced back then. That team (Ohio State) is going to win a lot of games.
That being said, I told our team that I was proud of the effort that they gave. I was not proud of the fact that we did not follow the plan to win. When you play a team like Ohio State, you have to play great defense, limit big plays-and they ended up with seven big plays, you have to create turnovers, and then not turn the ball over. We didn’t get any turnovers and they ended up with three. You also have to win the kicking game and there were some good things in the kicking game, but you have to be in the seven or eight goals met range to win a game like that and we did not do it. We just have to play better.”
ON PLAYING SO MANY YOUNG PLAYERS LAST WEEK AND GETTING THEM PREPARED AFTER A LOSS: “We just correct mistakes and move on. That game is over. We have a game Friday night that we started preparing for today. We brought them in today and put that game to rest and now we are getting ready for Friday.”
ON TAKING POSITIVES FROM A LOSS AGAINST A TOP PROGRAM: “I have never been one to do that. I have never thought that losing a game can help you win the next one. I am one of those guys who think losing is bad and that winning helps. We opened against a high-caliber Ohio State team and I am not sure we are going to see players that look like that the rest of this year. I sure hope not. That part of it might help you, but I don’t ever think losing helps you any time.”
ON WATCHING THE FILM OF THE OHIO STATE GAME AND ANY DEPTH CHART CHANGES: “The one thing I try to do when I watch a game is watch for effort. I want to make sure the kids are playing hard, and our kids did. That is the positive I got out of that game. I thought we played extremely hard, but we were not smart at times. We have got to clean up some things. They did give great effort and as long as they do that we are going to win some games.”
WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE RIVALRY WITH WVU: “This is an important game for both of us. I have great respect for West Virginia. We come from playing the best team in the Big Ten Conference to now playing the best team in the Big East Conference. They are the most talented Big East team out there. Noel Devine, Jock Sanders and Tavon Austin are probably the most exciting players in the Big East. Defensively, (Chris) Neild, (Robert) Sands, and J.T. Thomas are the best three defensive players in that league. They (WVU) have the best talent in that league and they will be a good football team.
WHEN ASKED HOW MUCH IT WILL HELP UNDERSTANDING WVU’s PERSONNEL: “It will help a little bit. But, you know what? We will get guys lined up in the right place and they may help us to an extent, but our guys are going to have to go out there and make plays.”
ON THE RIVALRY WITH WVU: “I think it is a great game for both schools. Now that the schedules have gone to 12 games it is harder and harder to schedule games. I think this is a game that needs to be played every year. It is great for the state and it is great for the economy. We have to win this game at some point. For it to be a rivalry we have got to go win that game.”
HOW DO YOU DEFEND AGAINST WVU’s OFFENSE?: “You have got to have great pursuit. All eleven players must be running to the ball relentlessly. Noel Devine at some point is going to make some plays. I think he had over 100 yards today (against Coastal Carolina). He will break one here or there. He is a great player and they have Jock Sanders who can beat you and Tavon Austin with Geno Smith making good decisions. They create a lot of problems for a defense, but what you have to do is get 11 guys lined up not thinking, but playing hard and running to the ball and then you have a chance.”
DID FACING TERRELLE PRYOR HELP YOU PREPARE IN ANYWAY: “He (Pryor) did not run around as much as I thought he would. I think what has happened with him is he has become a good quarterback. Before he beat you with his feet, but I think he is now beating people with his arm. I got to watch a bit today and it looked like Geno was running around a bit too. Geno is a big athletic guy and we are going to have to make sure he is contained.”
IS THE QUARTERBACK THE X-FACTOR?: “I think the quarterback is always the x-factor for any offense. If you have a great quarterback that makes great decisions it is hard to defend them. Any championship team that I have ever been a part of has had a quarterback that had the intangibles and leadership skills. Pryor had that the other night.”
ON WVU’s DEFENSE: “Their scheme creates a lot of issues for you. They are a little bit different scheme wise that what you see a lot. Jeff Casteel and Steve Dunlap and those guys are great coaches. One thing I can say about them is they play extremely hard every play and they get after you. You have to make sure your hats are on the right people.”
ON COACHING IN HIS FIRST HOME GAME AS HEAD COACH AT MARSHALL: “I can’t wait to play here to be honest with you. The kids are excited about it and so am I. You walk into that stadium and you see those new scoreboards and hear that new sound system that Mike Hamrick (Marshall AD) got us and that gets you excited. It will be an exciting night. We need to fill up that stadium and we need that walk (Thunder Walk) to be great and for everything to be great.”
HAVE YOU TALKED WITH ANY OF WVU’s COACHES RECENTLY OR KEEP IN TOUCH: “You know I haven’t. We are all busy working right now. Of course, I grew up right down the road from Steve Dunlap and we have known each other a long time. Now Steve’s sister sent me a text right before the Ohio State game. Now Steve will probably be mad at me, but I think she is rooting for us Friday night. (laugh) Steve is great. He is a great coach and great friend. We played high school football together and grew up together and coached together. He also coached here at Marshall so there is one guy I do keep in touch with.”
ON THE COACHING RELATIONSHIPS AND THE FACT THAT BOTH STAFFS HAVE CONNECTIONS TO EACH OTHER AND HAVE SPENT TIME AT THE OTHER SCHOOL: “All that stuff goes out the window once the game starts.”
ON GOING AGAINST WVU FOR THE FIRST TIME: “If I have to make any plays out there on Friday night, we are probably in trouble (laughter). We have to make sure our players make plays. I don’t know if I could make a play right now."
ON BEING A FIRST TIME HEAD COACH AND THE EXPERIENCE OF TAKING THE FIELD AT OHIO STATE: “It was great until that first kickoff (laughter). That’s a helluva way to start isn’t it? I don’t know if it will really sink in until the end of the year. You finish up that one and we get back here at about three in the morning and you are back in here at five or six and you are working. So, I am not sure if all this will really sink in until sometime around the end of the year.”
WILL YOUR TEAM HAVE CHIP ON ITS SHOULDER AFTER LAST WEEK: “I told them after the loss that they can do something that no other team in the history of Marshall Football has ever done. Now I didn’t tell them what that was, but they can figure that out.”
ON GENO SMITH IN LAST YEAR’S GAME COMING IN AND IMPROVING IN THE SECOND HALF – WAS IT SOMETHING WVU DID AT THE HALF OR THE MARSHALL’S DEFENSE?: “Probably a little bit. But, gee I wish I didn’t recruit him now to be honest (laughter). I thought that out there today and said I wish I had not have gotten him. He is a good player. He is mature and he makes good decisions. He will be a handful and he is a great kid.”
ON LAST YEAR’S GAME AND MARSHALL’S LEAD AT HALFTIME: “That was a relatively close game and Marshall had five turnovers. If Marshall holds on to the ball, they probably win it. That is true in any game that you play. If you don’t turn the ball over you have a chance to win. Now if we do that a year ago…we just have to get that done on Friday night (no turnovers).”
ON HAVING RECRUITED PLAYERS ON BOTH TEAMS: “There are about five of them on that West Virginia team – Stedman Bailey, Geno Smith, Jorge Wright, (Robert) Sands….there are about four of five of them that I wish I hadn’t, because I would like to have them here right now. But, there are all good kids.”
ON ROBERT SANDS: “Sands has a great mom. He comes from Miami and he is very tall and long. He was a triple jump champion that is very athletic. He is a very good player and he is someone you have to account for out there."
ON FRESHMAN QB EDDIE SULLIVAN’S PERFORMANCE AGAINST OHIO STATE: “He should have been seven-for-seven. He had some drops and some guys run the wrong route. You know what? I don’t think that bothers Eddie. I think he cares if its out here or there, he just likes to play. He is ok and he will be alright."
ON DROPPED PASSES IN THE OPENER: “You catch the ball or you don’t play. It is that simple. You have to make plays. I don’t know exactly how many there were, but when you get an opportunity to make a play against a team like Ohio State you have to take advantage of it. It is the same on defense. Omar (Brown) had a chance to make an interception on a post route. When you get an opportunity like that against a team like that you have to make it."
COMPARISONS BETWEEN OHIO STATE’S OFFENSIVE LINE AND WEST VIRGINIA’S: “Ohio State is the number one or two team in America. I have not had time yet to study West Virginia in depth. I know who they have playing for them and I know they have an excellent line. Ohio State is just a great team and so is West Virginia.”
DO YOU LIKE PLAYING ON A WEEK NIGHT: “I was telling our coaches out there today that I like having a Saturday and Sunday as a work day because of the lack of distractions. Now with Monday being Labor Day we have three straight days with no classes or study halls so we can focus on West Virginia. We just count Friday as a Saturday and work back. Tomorrow for us will be a Tuesday. Monday will be a Wednesday and then we are going to have two Thursdays back-to-back and then go play Friday.”
AFTER PLAYING A LOT OF TRUE FRESHMEN IN THE OPENER – ARE THERE ANY OTHERS THAT COULD SEE TIME: “Yeah. The one corner Darryl Roberts is going to have to play a little bit. We have Kelson who played. I think Demetrius Evans played. I think Gator (Hoskins) played and Sparrow played. That will help us down the road. Ross played to and did a nice job. We are going to need those guys when we get into our conference schedule. They can help us. A.J. Scott also. He is a guy I would rather not play, but we just do not have a choice. Maybe next year we can redshirt him. He will be an excellent player."
DO YOU WANT YOUR TEAM TO BE LOOSE AND HAVE FUN OR MORE INTENSE BEFORE A GAME: “Players get ready to play the game in different ways. Some of them wear their head sets, while others are quite and sit over in the corner. All I care about is when they play, they play their tails off. I want them to do whatever they have to do to get ready to do that. That’s how I want that locker room. That other stuff does not mean a whole lot to me. I don’t get into hanging signs in the locker room or slogans. I have one slogan – do your job and do it the right way.”
ON KELLEN HARRIS’s STATUS: “He practiced today. We need his leadership. He is a good player and we need him in there. T.J. Ross was playing for Kellen along with Tyson Gale last week and we need his athletic ability.
DID THE TEAM EMERGE FROM OHIO STATE HEALTHY?: “We did. Thank goodness. We have a couple of bumps and bruises. The couple of issues we had were both on backup guys.”
ON WINNING FANS BACK: “Games like Ohio State and West Virginia are possible program changing wins. Those are games that at some point, in order to get your program where we want it to be, you have to go out and win. Those types of wins change programs and that’s what we want.“
ON TALKING TO THE TEAM: “Anytime in your plan to win you have to protect the ball. When you turn the ball over five times, you have no chance. Today, I saw Florida turn the ball over several times against Miami and that made that an ugly game. Florida still won, but you cannot turn the ball over and have a chance to win a big game.
ON ESPN NATIONAL TV FOR THE FRIENDS OF COAL BOWL: “This is great exposure, no question. It is going to sell our program. It will show the nation the passion of our fans and how important football is to Huntington and Marshall University.“