Share This Page
WVU

Marshall coach knows WVU well

| Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

If anyone should know key members of this year's West Virginia football team, it's Marshall third-year coach Doc Holliday.

Holliday was the recruiting director when the Mountaineers' 2009 freshman class was ranked No. 22 in the nation by Scout.com. The group included quarterback Geno Smith, wideouts Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, running back Shawne Alston, tackle Pat Eger, defensive tackle Will Clarke, linebackers Tyler Anderson and Terrence Garvin, cornerbacks Brodrick Jenkins and Pat Miller, and safety Darwin Cook.

Those players will be in the starting lineup against Holliday's Thundering Herd in Saturday's noon opener at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Smith, Austin and Bailey have formed one of the top pass-catch combinations in college football, while Smith is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate.

“We've got great respect for that program,” said Holliday, an assistant for 23 years at WVU who also played for the Mountaineers. “The one thing I learned from the time I spent there, you've got really good players and they're well coached.

“They're one of the top 10 teams in America. They've got Geno Smith at quarterback, who was picked to be the (offensive) player of the year in the Big 12. Probably if he wasn't picked, Tavon Austin would have been.”

Smith speaks fondly of Holliday, whose coaching staff is preparing a game plan to stop him.

When Smith was trying to choose between West Virginia and Alabama, whom he visited, and other schools such as LSU, Michigan, Clemson and Boston College, who also made him scholarship offers, he acknowledged Holliday's persistence as a recruiter pushed him toward the Mountaineers.

“Doc is a really good guy. I look forward to playing against him,” said Smith, who starred at Miramar High in suburban Miami. “I know his family. He knows the type of person I am. He was a persistent guy. That was the reason why I came here. He would show up to my practices and come to my house and meet my family. That's something a lot of recruiters didn't do. That's what makes him such a great recruiter.”

Holliday is 12-13 in his first two seasons at Marshall, including a 7-6 record against the 16th-most difficult schedule in the country last year. Holliday is 0-2 against WVU.

“We understand the challenges Marshall is going to bring to the table,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. “They're going to be a very motivated football team that is going to want to come up here and play well. Highly motivated teams are dangerous.

“They won some close games last year, like we did, and won their bowl game, which is always positive in the offseason from a momentum standpoint. We expect them to be a better team than they were last year.”

John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.