HUNTINGTON, W.Va.— Some of Doc Holliday’s most influential coaches this spring won’t be named Heater, Furrey, or Mirabal. “Coaches” Cato, Shuler, Jasperse and other returning veterans are going to be counted on to mentor young, talented players as Holliday looks to develop the team’s depth during spring workouts.
“They’re coaching those guys,” Holliday said about his veteran leaders. “Cato’s going to be coaching those guys and Shuler. They’re getting coached as much by their peers as their coaches. That’s when you stand back and feel pretty good because you’re starting to develop and do what good football teams do.”
Holliday will be looking for established starters such as Rakeem Cato, Tommy Shuler and others to show raw players such as Deontay McManus, Angelo Jean-Louis, Gunnar Holcombe and a slew of young linemen how to be college football players. Counting on that senior leadership is not a luxury Holliday has had during his first four years as Marshall’s head coach.
“The reason we became a good football team last year was because of the leadership that was developed throughout the year,” Holliday recalled. “At this time last year, I couldn’t name a handful of guys that I felt that way about, now there’s a lot of them out there now.”
While the competitive sides of Rakeem Cato and Tommy Shuler will probably leave the fourth-year starters a bit agitated with their limited reps this spring, Holliday doesn’t need to evaluate his proven players he knows he can count on this fall. Holliday wants to learn who can play behind those guys and who will be ready to step into their place if needed.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do and we got to get better as a football team but we don’t have as many question marks. There’s just certain areas that we need to develop more depth.”
Holliday is also making certain his team is not feeling too good about itself following its 10-win season and bowl victory over Maryland.
“These guys are feeling pretty good about themselves and they got to make sure to do the three things we talked about last year when you have success like this. Number one thing you worry about as a head football coach is complacency setting in with the players and coaches. It’s my job as the head coach to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
But Holliday is not too concerned with that being an issue, because of his senior class.
“Kids are kids. You guys tell them how good they are and they walk down the street and everybody’s patting their butt on the back for three months, they’re feeling pretty good about themselves. Having senior leadership on the team is going to be a lot better having that.”