OXFORD, OH—After months of hype and build up the 2013 season actually gets underway today as Marshall matches up with Miami (OH).
You can’t hide from the hype surrounding Marshall going into the year. With Rakeem Cato back and so many weapons on offense plus an experienced defense in the second year of Chuck Heater’s scheme, the expectations around Marshall are higher than ever. However, Doc Holliday has been sure to make certain his players know the expectations bring added responsibility.
“It’s a business like group,” Holliday said of how his player conduct themselves. “I like this football team. They all love ball. It is important to them. They understand the expectation but they also understand the responsibility. If they get complacent in any way, shape or former, whether it be meetings or on the field, or whatever, we’re going to get beat.”
But Holliday is confident players such as Cato, Chris Jasperse, James Rouse and others won’t let the team get complacent.
“The leadership on this football team needs to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Holliday. “I just want the football team to go play extremely well. All that other stuff doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference. It’s all about following the plan to win and getting yourself prepared to go play. At the end of the day I don’t worry too much about the other part of it.”
Even though the Redhawks now own the longest current losing streak in the county, this is not the same team that Marshall trounced by 38 points a season ago. Former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin has brought a new energy and scheme to Miami as he begins the rebuilding process. The Redhawks are, after all, the winngest program in the Mid-American Conference and it wasn’t that long ago it was dominating the league.
“Miami is a storied program that’s got a great tradition,” pointed Holliday. “They’re not down now. You add those three kids (from Notre Dame) to this football and add coach Martin, who has done a tremendous job, it’s going to be a great challenge for us.”
“They’re going to be extremely hungry. I’m sure we’re going to walk in a hornet’s nest.”
Holliday’s teams have earned a bit of a reputation for struggling on the road. Last season, all three losses were on the road and Marshall struggled to get by FAU, needing a last second field goal to pull out the win.
“I’m kind of glad we’re going on the road and see how this team responds,” said Holliday. “We’ve gone on the road and played well and have to make sure that happens again.”
And it has. The bowl game against Maryland was in Annapolis, MD, right in the Terrapins backyard and Marshall responded with a convincing victory.
“If we walk in there and think its not going to be a game we’re kidding ourselves. We’ll get beat.