Oct. 31, 2012
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – Doc Holliday wants Marshall football fans to knew he doesn’t feel much different than those of you sitting in Section 118 – or whatever section, row or seat -- of Edwards Stadium.
Holliday spent a good portion of his weekly press conference explaining that he’s about as green around the gills about a 54-17 loss to the Knights as those in Herd Nation sporting the kelly color.
“For us to get where we got to go, we’ve got to win games like that,” Holliday said Tuesday. “For me as a head coach, for everybody, that’s what Marshall University has to do to get this program to where our fan base wants it, where I want it, where everybody wants it.
“We all want to win championships, that’s what it’s all about and you’ve got to win those games, or you can’t do that.”
The Herd (3-5, 2-2) entertains Memphis (1-7, 1-3) on Saturday at 2 p.m., before going to UAB, then facing visiting Houston in a Nov. 17 noon start and closing the 2012 regular season with a Thanksgiving Friday date at East Carolina.
Holliday, however, said his team can’t afford to have that kind of farsightedness.
“We’ve got to put that last game behind us; it’s important they have a short memory,” Holliday said of his players. “Memphis has a new coach (Justin Fuente) and he has them playing extremely hard. It doesn’t look like a 1-7 team … Regardless of the record, they show up and play, do some really good things.
“We’ve got to worry about us this week, got to get better, we’re not going to worry about the weather. We’ll go out and practice like we normally do and get ready to go out and play.”
Holliday said he grasps the frustration and disappointment by Herd fans. He sees it in his team … and said there’s nothing wrong with that feeling, in his opinion.
“Are we disappointed? Yes,” he said. “As a head coach, I’m disappointed. Our kids are disappointed. I’d be disappointed if our fan base isn’t disappointed. I don’t want to be anywhere where our fans don’t care.
“There are places where that happens. I don’t want to be the coach at one of those places. I want to coach where our fans are upset because we don’t win. That’s the way it should be. I have no issue with that.”
In his review of the loss to UCF, Holliday said the Herd’s problem was more about lack of execution than lack of focus.
But he said there are still plenty of reasons for his team to keep playing hard. It’s way down the road beyond what Holliday wants his Herd to consider, but with a sweep the remainder of the season, Marshall would have its first eight-win season since 2003.
“This team still has lots to play for,” Holliday said. “We’ve got four games left, one-third of the season, and you can accomplish more than any other (Marshall) team has ever done in this conference. You can win six conference games. You’ve got the opportunity to go participate in a bowl game.
“Who knows what’s going to happen? This time last year we were sitting so-called in the same boat, and we’re a two-point conversion from playing for a championship at the end. If Central Florida makes that two-point conversion at Southern Miss (in a 30-29 loss), guess what? We’re going back to Houston (for the Conference USA championship game).
“You never know. Our kids have to understand there’s a lot left to play for, and we’ve got to focus on Memphis take ‘em one at a time and look up at the end of the year and see where we are.”
Holliday said he isn’t concerned about his team’s mental state or its focus.
“I think it was more executing,” Holliday said when asked whether the loss was more about physical or mental. “We left that hotel pregame, and our kids were ready to play that game. Now we got out there that first series and just didn’t make the plays we made all year.
“There were some throws made where guys didn’t catch the ball, and there were some guys who were open and throws weren’t made, and there were some blocks that were made all year that we didn’t make. We just didn’t execute.
“When you don’t make the plays you’re supposed to make, errors are magnified. We had a couple of opportunities to get some things going and we didn’t do it. It’s unfortunate. We’ve got to come back, and we’re very capable of making those corrections.”
Asked specifically what he’d tell Herd fans whose disgruntlement has filled talk radio locally, Holliday didn’t blink or blush.
“I’d say the same thing I told our football team,” Holliday said. “We’ve got a lot to play for, and it’s important we come back Saturday and play extremely well. And we will.”