HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—Doc Holliday always sees the bigger picture. That’s what has made him one of the best recruiters in the country. Despite the inconvenience playing a college football game on Thursday night presents, Holliday loves the exposure his program gets by playing a nationally televised game in the middle of the week.
“Any time we can get the “M” on television on a national stage it helps recruiting and helps in all areas. From an exposure standpoint I do like it,” says Holliday.
Mid-week games helped Marshall to rise to some national prominence during the “We Play for Championships” days of the late ‘90’s and early 2000’s. Marshall was a regular on ESPN on Wednesday and Thursday night’s thus exposing the country to the likes of Randy Moss, Chad Pennington and Bryon Leftwich.
“The last thing I tell them every Thursday night as we leave the practice field is who is playing Thursday night,” says Holliday. “I tell them to go home and turn that game on and watch. That’s what every coach in America is going to be telling their team Thursday night…’Go watch the Marshall and Middle Tennessee game and see what they’re all about’. The exposure is outstanding and we are lucky to get that.”
Even if football junkies are necessarily looking for the Marshall vs. Middle Tennessee State game, they will inevitably stumble upon it as they scroll through the guide looking for a game to watch.
Holliday admits that playing in the middle of the week does present its own unique set of challenges for the players, who are creatures of habit. Practice schedules have to be adjusted, travel days are different and then there’s the challenge of getting to an 8 a.m. class Friday morning.
“They’ll miss just about all day Wednesday afternoon because of travel. They’ll miss Thursday. They need to be in class at 8 a.m. Friday morning, but they won’t even get back to Huntington until about 4 a.m. The amount of time that the kids miss in the classroom is bothersome. They have to find a way to get it done in the classroom and they do.”
Thursday is a chance for The Herd to impress recruits who may not get the opportunity to see much of Marshall on television on weekly basis. It’s also a chance to impress those who keep a close eye on Conference USA and show Marshall is the class of the conference.