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Coach Doc Holliday's Weekly Press Conference

Oct. 26, 2010

HUNTINGTON - 10/26/2010 Doc Holliday Press Conference
Marshall vs. UTEP - Saturday , 3 p.m. ET

Opening Statement: AJ Graham, once again, is still in a boot. He won't practice, he won't play. His status is uncertain; he may not play again for the rest of the year. Brain Anderson and Eddie Sullivan will both play and we will go from there.

UTEP is an excellent team. You guys saw them a year ago, they have seven or eight starters back on offense. They led the conference in total offense and I think they were 18th in the nation in total offense. Their quarterback is a four year starter. Their tailback broke a school record last year with 1,600 yards rushing. They have that big receiver No.2 who will give you some headaches. They have great talent on offense and it will be a great challenge for us on defense. We have faced a lot of adversity. What happens when you face adversity is you find out a lot about people. You find out a lot about coaches and you find out a lot about players. These kids have not flinched. One thing I am proud is that their accountability has been unbelievable. We ask a lot of them. We are there early, we go to bed late, they are there in study halls and meetings. We met at 6:30 a.m. this morning and everyone was there on time. They are great kids and they work extremely hard. We will have a great week of practice and preparation. It is homecoming and we are looking forward to it.

On Eddie Sullivan's playing time: I would have liked to see him play a little more last Saturday, but with that being said, you will see him earlier this week. Eddie went in and did some good things. Our issue is, we are going to put this football team in the best position to win. Brian Anderson gives us some things Eddie doesn't, and Eddie gives us some things Brian doesn't. We are going to play them both and take advantage of both their strength and see what happens. It is hard for freshman to grasp the entire offense. He has done a nice job and has worked extremely hard. Sometimes he is like the energizer bunny out there, but he is starting to slow down a little bit. He is going to be fine, he's a good player.



On the travel distance between UTEP and Marshall: We played out there one time, I think it was 1996 and it was Christmas day and it snowed believe it or not. But what we should have done was scheduled this game for noon, that way for them, it would have been 10 a.m. I'm sure coach Price will be fine and have them prepared; he has been around for a long time. I guess for them it is going to be a 1 p.m. kickoff which is not going to be a major issue.

On Tulane beating UTEP last week: Tulane did an excellent job. They are a good team. They beat a Rutgers team from the Big East which I believe is 4-2. They have a nice tailback; their offensive line is very physical. Tulane went in there and did a nice job.

Is there a physical advantage for Marshall against the UTEP defense? We are going to try. I say it every week. We cannot be one dimensional. We are going to try and mix it up and run the ball a little bit. It is a heck of a lot easier to throw the ball when you can run as well. We will try to establish that on Saturday.

Is the remainder of the schedule like a playoff to get bowl eligible? No. We have to focus on one game and it is this weekend. Then we can go to the next one. Our goal is to get better as a football team this weekend then walk off the field and worry about the next one. This week our focus is on Texas El Paso. On Marshall running more plays than ECU and having more time of possession: That was something we wanted to accomplish going into that game. If we could win the time of possession battle, that would take the ball out of East Carolina's hands. That being said, we can't turn the ball over. If we hadn't turned the ball over in some critical situations, we go into halftime with it being a very tight game. We can't continue to shoot ourselves in the foot. We are not a good enough football team to turn the ball over and expect to win. We knew that we had to go into that game and create some issues for them on defense with some pressure and some full blitzes and dropping off and playing coverage. He felt we had to control the clock and throw the ball around with Brain, and I felt we did with the exception of some pics. We just can't turn the ball over like we are, and unfortunately we continue to do that.

On the injury status: It's about the same. Landis Provancha is day to day, He still has that issue, but other than that I think we are in good shape. The problem is, when you get that guys who don't practice, it is hard to go play. Our quarterback last week didn't practice much. There are not very many guys who are able to do that. So our guys need to be out there on the practice field to be effective, and I think we will be this week.

On the young guys stepping up to play: There are some positive things there. Zach Dunston got his first start at linebacker. Unfortunately he was injured on a kickoff return on the second or third possession, but he is showing signs of being a good player. I think we played five freshmen on defense. The good thing is that they are getting some experience; the bad thing is that they are freshmen. They will continue to get better, and they will.

On three tight ends catching balls against ECU: We are just trying to find some players to make plays. Lee Smith has been sick all week, he has something like Bronchitis and was having trouble breathing at some snaps, so that's why some guys got an opportunity. That is also why we took Lee off of kickoff returns.

On Herold Haskins: I'm still high on him, he's just a freshman. He is really athletic and he is going to be a good player. But freshman sometimes develop at a slower rate, and he is just a little behind in his development. But he is going to fine. He is going to be a good player.

On the defensive approach to UTEP this weekend: The kid they have is a four year starter. They are a little different that East Carolina. They take a lot of shots down field. They are more of a vertical passing game. They had a rusher last year with 1,600 yards and was one of, if not the top rusher in the country. Mike Price likes to run the ball first and then try to beat you down field. You better go into this game stopping the run and also make sure that you don't get the ball thrown over your head because they are going to take some shots down field.

On his thought about changing the running game to and H back or an I formation: The problem with that is, 1, I don't know who that guy is, and 2, everywhere I have been, every time you shrink the offense, and become a fullback, tailback, two wide out team, you better be better than who you are playing. You better have five guys upfront who can come off the ball and block because the defense is going to have an extra man in the box. When you tighten things down, you have to be better than the team you are playing because it makes things more challenging on offense. What a spread offense can do for you is you can have an unblocked man and get him in space. ECU is a perfect example. All the bubble screens they do, that is essentially their running game. You don't have to block those seven guys up front; you have to block those three of four guys out on the perimeter. They do a great job with that. The whole spread offense is about how many guys you have in the box and weather it is a two high safety or a one high safety and all these deals. You have to pick your poison so to speak and stop what they give you.

On what a win would do this weekend: It is everything. We all need a win in the worst way. You all need a win, the coaches and players need a win, the fans need a win, Randy (Burnside) needs a win and that's what it is all about. We would all be feeling a lot better next Tuesday sitting here if we were coming off a win. The thing that has been great is that our kids have bought in, and I know we are doing the right things. I know we are on the right path. The kids know that, I know that, and everyone in that Shewey building know that. Positive things are going to happen and I honestly believe that. We are going to be a good football team at one point, and a win will reinforce that. I have told a lot of people, we have great coaches who have won a lot of championships. We have spent hours and hours getting this kids in the best possible position to win a football game, and we are going to do that again this week and work our tails off on Saturday to go get that win.

On the chances of still becoming bowl eligible: Our goal is to win every game we play. It is no different than the last five. But I don't think we can get that far ahead. We just have to concern ourselves with this next game.