HUNTINGTON, W.Va.— Doc Holliday insists he is having more fun coaching now than he has ever had.
Quite frankly, he should be.
College football pundits and prognosticators are predicting an undefeated season and some have gone as far as to project Marshall playing in the Orange Bowl or Peach Bowl. Perfection is the expectation and Doc Holliday is embracing it.
“They’re talking about us winning the conference. They’re talking about us playing Auburn in the Orange Bowl or Georgia in the Peach Bowl,” says Holliday. “They weren’t talking about us four years ago because we went very good.”
Holliday, now entering his fifth season as head coach, inherited a program that had just one winning season and two bowl appearances since 2003 and had not been a contention for a conference championship since it left the Mid-American Conference in 2005.
A lot has changed in five years.
“People have really high expectations. I told people when I took this job I didn’t want to be anywhere where the expectations weren’t extremely high. The good thing is they are extremely high.”
Holliday and his players are aware of the lofty goals in front of the team this season but they also know those prolific projections are based on the team continuing the momentum it built during last year’s 10-win season.
“With all these expectations comes responsibility. The responsibility we have as a team is that we go to work every day.”
Holliday asserts the only team that may be able to stop The Herd this year is itself. He says there three things that could keep Marshall from getting to where it wants to go.
“The first is complacency. You either get better or you get worse, you don’t stay the same. It’s important that our players and coaches go to work every day,” explains Holliday. “It’s also important that our fan base doesn’t get complacent. They buy tickets and show up. We haven’t lost a game at home in a year and a half. It’s important that we show up and have a great crowd because our team loves to play there.”
Then there’s selfishness.
“Cato’s not concerned about how touchdown passes he’s going to throw or Shuler’s not worried about how many catches he’s going to have. Doing something negative off the or something that hurts your team is what we refer to as selfishness.”
“The third thing is accountability. We’ve got to do a great job of staying accountable to each other. The one thing I like about this football team is they’ve taken ownership of this team. When players do that you have a shot.”
Holliday and his team are embracing the expectations this season and the responsibility that goes with lofty goals.