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Marshall Thundering Herd vs LA Tech Bulldogs

Marshall coach Doc Holliday leads his team onto the field before Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech at Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston, La.

Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.

No mask required for these opinions.

n Marshall University head coach Doc Holliday is always concerned about an upcoming game.

That is simply his nature.

But this is different.

The Thundering Herd’s veteran coach is worried about the next two games on MU’s schedule because they involve a pair of schools from Florida who are battling COVID-19 duress.

Marshall is supposed to host Florida Atlantic at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Joan C. Edwards Stadium for the annual homecoming game. The Owls are 1-0 because their other games were postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Then, on October 12 the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported that 18 FAU players and nine staff members had tested positive for the coronavirus. The newspaper added that 38 players and staffers would have missed the Owls’ scheduled game against Southern Miss on Oct. 17 had it not been postponed.

So, here we are eight days later wondering if the MU-FAU game is going to happen.

Besides that, Marshall is scheduled to play at FIU on Oct. 30 (Friday) at 7 p.m. But on Oct. 16 the Miami Herald reported that FIU had postponed its road game at Charlotte that was scheduled for Oct. 17.

FIU released a statement saying, “an increase in COVID-19 positive results” within the Panthers’ program caused the postponement. The statement also said, “Out of an abundance of caution all activities have been paused.”

So, is it any wonder that Holliday is concerned?

And not just about whether or not the games are going to be played. Holliday is concerned about the health of his players and staff members.

“We just have to pray that we don’t have issues,” said Holliday. “Everybody is dealing with a lot of things. We just tell our kids all the time to take care of yourselves, wear your masks and do all of those things.”

As far as MU playing FAU on Saturday goes, Holliday is optimistic.

“I haven’t heard from FAU,” he said Monday during a Zoom meeting. “I’ll leave that up to Mike [Hamrick, MU athletic director]. All I know is we started preparing yesterday for this game. We’ll prepare like we’re playing.

“As far as I know, it’s 100 percent go. I haven’t heard anything different at all.”

Yet, it’s difficult not to be concerned about playing two consecutive games against schools that have experienced significant COVID-19 problems recently.

“We have to worry about what we can control,” said Holliday. “I can’t control what is happening in Boca Raton or Miami with those two teams.

“What I can control is what our team is doing here as far as preparation and getting ready to go play that game. We’re going to prepare like we always do. And we’re going to work every day to get better as a football team.

“I don’t think there’s any question this game is going to be played. I know FAU is going to do everything they can possibly do to play this game. I would guess that they’ll play.”

Keep your fingers crossed and socially distanced.

n The Thundering Herd is back where it belongs.

Namely, in the Associated Press Top 25.

The undefeated Herd, 4-0, is ranked No. 22 this with 227 points. MU is ranked ahead of No. 23 N.C. State, No. 24 Southern Cal and No. 25 Coastal Carolina.

And don’t forget about WVU. The Mountaineers are 3-1 and would rank No. 29 with 57 points.

n What would “Second Guess” Tuesday be without a coach second-guessing himself?

You’re up, Doc.

“I’m kicking myself in the butt for not kicking that field goal in the first quarter,” said Holliday, referring to Marshall’s 35-17 win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday night. “Considering the way our defense is playing, I should’ve kicked the field goal and that’s on me.”

Isn’t second-guessing fun?