Sportsline with Tony Caridi  Watch |  Listen

WATCH: Doc Holliday’s Weekly News Conference

Opening Statement:
It’s obvious we have a great challenge coming in here this week. They’ve (UCF) been picked by most of the experts to be playing for the conference championship. They are a very physical team and very well-coached. It should be a great Saturday night atmosphere. I know our kids have to have a great week of preparation just like last week. We are looking forward to getting started today.

On the win over Southern Miss:
The games are always won during the week. It’s all about how you prepare up until game time. I know we had a great week of preparation last week. We have to make sure that we duplicate that this week.

On UCF giving up big runs in last two weeks:
I’m surprised, but they’re still the number one defense in our conference. I’ll tell you that. Tulsa was initially and now it’s UCF with their scoring defense. They’re number one in just about every category. They’re very physical and play extremely hard. Hopefully we’ll be able to balance things out, but they’re an excellent defense.

On Marshall’s run game progression:
I think we’re fourth in the conference in rushing offense. That’s where we wanted to be. When you can throw it and run it both it helps. I think the offensive coaches have done a great job at taking what the defense is giving them. We have to continue doing that.

On Marshall accumulating more rushing TDs this year than last two years combined:
It’s touchdown driven. We could say what great offensive minds we have up there in the box, but we have great players. Those two freshman running backs (Steward Butler/Kevin Grooms) have made a difference. The offensive line is playing better now than the whole time I’ve been here. Football is important to them. They play extremely hard and they work hard. They’ve come a long way and those receivers are blocking their tails off. There are a lot of factors going into that, but we’ve had the same coaches for the past few years. The coaches didn’t all of sudden get smarter. We have better players. I’ve always said this is a personnel-driven game. We’re getting to the point now player wise where I think we have a shot to be pretty good.

On UCF running play-action:

We have to stop the run. If you stop the run then you have a chance to win any game you’re in. I thought our defense played extremely well in that Southern Miss game. They stopped the run and were creating turnovers. This week is going to be no different. There’s no secret to what UCF is going to do when they come in here. They are going to run the football. Latavius Murray is an excellent back. They have another back by the name of Storm Johnson who started at the University of Miami. They have two excellent tailbacks. They are going to line up and run power football right at you. You better be able to stop it and we have to be able to do that.
On the importance of the UCF game for Rakeem Cato being a Florida native:

Well it’s important because it’s the next game. That’s kind of the approach we have to take with all our games. It just happens to be UCF and Cato just happens to know some south Florida kids and/or even played with some of those kids. Cato has grown up a lot since the UCF game a year ago. That game seems like light-years ago, thank goodness. He’s (Cato) matured as a quarterback and he’ll tell you that. He learned from that game a year ago and he’s so much further along as a quarterback and we’re so much further as an offense then we were this time last year. That’s good to see and hopefully we will have a lot more production than what we had last year.

On Rakeem Cato overcoming adversity:
All freshmen go through growing pains. That’s why you should never have to play a true freshman quarterback. He will never faced adversity on the football field like he has faced in his life growing up. There’s not an arena he will walk into that is going to intimidate him. He’s grown from that game (last year’s UCF game) and is so much more secure and confident. That game last year was a part of the growing process.

On the game being Marshall vs. UCF, not R. Cato v. Florida guys:
He understands that. Our team just has to go play. Do what you do and do your job because they’re plenty good enough. They just have to go do their job and we will see where we are at the end of the day.

On impact of offensive coordinator Bill Legg being in the box upstairs rather than on the field:
I think it helps. He can see a better overall view of what’s happening. Overall I think we’re better because of the moves we’ve made. I don’t think there is any doubt that it has helped us.”

On relationship between Steward Butler and Kevin Grooms:

“Not just those two, but Remi Watson is right there with them. I told the team the only thing that is going to keep us from getting better is selfishness. With those three guys that sure won’t happen because they encourage each other, they root for each other and they understand that they’re all going to get to play. It’s been good and it has to continue to be that way.”

On the effectiveness of the three-headed monster rushing attack of S. Butler, R. Watson and K. Grooms:
“Number one, they’re all talented. I knew they were all talented. You just never know, as a coach, how freshmen are going to react. Similar to Cato, the arenas don’t seem to affect those three guys. They love to play. You put them in any arena and they are going to compete. They love to compete and love football. Right now it’s a great situation to have and it has to get better.”

More Marshall Sports

Marshall Sports
Marshall hopeful a return home can bring much-needed lift to Herd in matchup with James Madison
Herd back in Huntington after struggling on recent road trip.
February 20, 2024 - 3:45 pm
Marshall Sports
Marshall falls short at Coastal Carolina
Thundering Herd sputter offensively in 74-67 setback.
February 18, 2024 - 1:20 am
Marshall Sports
Marshall looks to move past recent road struggles at Coastal Carolina
Thundering Herd have dropped four straight away from home.
February 16, 2024 - 6:15 pm
Marshall Sports
Appalachian State pulls away late, tops Marshall, 73-58
Thundering Herd fall to 12-14.
February 15, 2024 - 11:17 pm

Your Comments