HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — As the Thundering Herd takes the field for its 15 practices this spring the overall objective sounds like it came from the second page of the book of coaching cliches – simply get better as a football team. While the stated goal is generic and painfully obvious, it is exactly what Marshall needs to do coming off its dismal 2016 performance.

“We were not a good team in any way, shape or form. Since I’ve been here this program has been built on toughness. There’s going to be a different word for every week and this week it’s ‘consistency.’ You’ve got to be consistent in what you do,” said head coach  Doc Holliday.

The first part of getting better as a football team started back in January during offseason work outs, which Holliday has described as one of the toughest winters since he took over as Marshall’s coach eight years ago. Holliday has seen tremendous gains in the weight room and through agility drills and is now eager to see how that translates to the field.

“I see a great work ethic,” said Holliday. “I see guys getting back to what we were doing in the past when we won a bunch of games in the past around here.”

No position is guaranteed coming into spring practice, nor should it be following last season. Every position is up for grabs and every one will have a chance to compete for positions.

The Herd’s coaching staff has the same goals as the personnel. Holliday is the first to admit the coaches could have done a better job last fall but stands by the staff that remains.

“I think if you look back over the body of work these coaches have done, we’ve had some pretty good offenses around here. It’s not like all the sudden we didn’t know how to coach. A lot of it was personnel driven.”

Holliday and the rest of the staff has been all over the country during the offseason gathering information from some of the best offensive coaching staffs in college football.

“We’ve been to Ohio State, Clemson, Mississippi State, Baylor, as a staff we’ve been a lot of places to gather as much information as we can. Three years previously, a lot of those staffs were coming here to talk to us.”

While it comes off as more coach’s speak when Holliday says the Herd needs to get better as a football team, that is the hard reality for a team that floundered to a 3-9 record last season. The first phase, offseason workouts, has reportedly been a success. The second phase in the process starts Tuesday with the beginning of spring practice.

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