HUNTINGTON — For Marshall football coach Doc Holliday, there are no days off in preseason camp.
However, Holliday and his staff will take a step back from the team Saturday to see how players react in game-like situations during that day’s scrimmage, scheduled to start around 3:50 p.m. at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
“It’s going to be a situation where we just get away from them,” Holliday said. “We’ve got to let them go play and see how they respond.”
The scrimmage will have a full crew of Conference USA officials on-hand, which will also test the Thundering Herd’s ability to adjust its play and react to certain calls. Holliday said he and the staff are eager to see how the players do. There are several new faces, especially on defense, looking to solidify their spot within the two-deep with a strong performance.
Holliday added that all eyes will be on who performs once the lights come on and a game-like situation takes shape.
With only two weeks before the Aug. 31 season opener against VMI, Saturday is one of the preseason’s most important days.
“It’s probably the last major scrimmage we have before the first game, so we’ve got to get a lot out of it,” Holliday said.
Marshall center Levi Brown said that, after several weeks of practice, the live-period situations are a welcome break from the daily grind as camp moves forward.
“At this point, I think everyone is sick of just going through drills,” Brown said. “That’s normal at this point, but it will be good to go out and hit someone and have it feel like a game. That just means we’re one step closer to Aug. 31.”
While Saturday will feature live periods, it will also be a chance for Holliday and the staff to put the team in different situations. The 10-year veteran head coach said his team would go through many various game situations to assess what they need to work on in the weeks leading up to the 6:30 p.m. contest at Joan C. Edwards Stadium against VMI.
“We’ll get a chance to do two-minute drill, four-minute drill and put them in a lot of situations where the officials have to take that thing over and we make some adjustments,” Holliday said.
In recent days, the offense has improved steadily while trying to perfect the system that offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey has installed. Quarterbacks Isaiah Green and Alex Thomson have each looked sharp while receivers have started to make the adjustment from thinking, which slows them down, to playing and reacting. Both Holliday and Cramsey said that aspect is vital for the offense’s success.
Holliday said competition between each side of the ball and the inner competition for positions is healthy and has kept the practice spirited despite the team finishing up its third week of players going up against one another.
“At the end of the day, it’s hard to remain consistent for a long period of time, but that’s what it takes to be great,” Holliday said. “These guys, if they don’t go to work every day to get better — with the challenges we have ahead with our schedule and everything else — we’ve got no chance. I think they understand that.”