BLACKSBURG, VA—Hindsight is always 20/20.  So it easy to look back at particular play calls or strategy after a game and question if those were the proper decisions.  Coaches are always darned if they do or darned if they don’t.  Heroes if they win, idiots if they lose.

Doc Holliday’s decision to run the ball three times up the middle and set up a field goal in the rain during the first overtime with Virginia Tech was being talked about before Herd fans clothes had dried out after sitting in a storm all day in Blacksburg.

Holliday explained his decision after the game.

“I thought at that point it was sloppy out there.  I felt that he had been consistent from the 25-yard line and we felt that he could put us in a position to win the game and unfortunately we couldn’t get it done.”

Holliday didn’t elaborate more than that.  Based on his statement, Holliday felt there was more of a risk putting the ball and taking shots at the endzone in the weather conditions.  He had confidence that his special teams and kicker Justin Haig could get the job done.

Would Haig’s kick have had the distance and sailed through the uprights?  We’ll never know because the true breakdown was not in strategy.  It was in execution.

While play calls and decisions can be debated, execution cannot.  You either execute or you don’t.  There’s no middle ground.

On two critical special teams plays Marshall had breakdowns that ultimately cost it the game.  The first breakdown came early.  The second came in overtime.

The very first time Marshall lined up to punt, the Hokies rushed through the protection and swarmed around punter Tyler Williams.  They blocked the punt and recovered it for a touchdown.  Marshall had similar breakdown in overtime.  Whether or not Justin Haig could have made the 39-yard field goal in the rain was mute when Derrick Hopkins broke through the line and blocked the field goal attempt.

Those two plays potentially accounted for a ten-point swing and ultimately the outcome of the game.

Yes, Marshall missed several opportunities to extend its lead and put the game away in the second half.  The blocked punt and blocked field goal attempt are just the most glaring examples.  Marshall need to play a mistake-free game to come away with a win and didn’t.

The strategy and play calling is debatable.  However, no one will argue that once again Marshall made too many mistakes notch a statement victory.

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  • Jason

    I would like to question the shot at the endzone with about 1 minute to go in regulation. Didn't seem like proper time management to shoot for the end zone in one shot, which ended up getting picked off.

  • Jeff

    I thought the herd played very well but the decision to run 3 and then kick vs a Frank Beamer team with the past history of special teams play should speak for itself. Move forward and learn from this mistake.

  • Larry

    So few comments about Marshall games, it's almost like people don't care.

  • pc

    Wrong!!! Strategy was a critical factor. No one is saying take 3 shots at the end zone. In horrendous weather, a field goal from around the 32 yard line (thus 42 yards or so) is no "gimme"! Tech loaded the box against the run yet Doc/Legg calls for 3 basic read option dives into the center of the defense. No quick pop passes, slants, etc., to try and get 10 yards or so to make FG try a lot shorter. Herd did not use tight ends enough in pass routes, nothing over the middle, 95 % of passes were to "outside" which Tech DBs were playing for. Doc and Legg went so ultraconservative on play calling from middle of 3rd quarter on as to make mentor Don Nehlen look like a free wheeling, gun slinging liberal!!

  • Newbrough20

    It was a good game go herd!!!

  • WVUreject

    MU is a very talented team! I never have understood how you can get a Head coaching job at the D1 level with no experience as a head coach! Not a winning mix!