Holliday: Herd must work through mistakes

April 3, 2018 GMT

HUNTINGTON - In assessing Marshall’s first practice in pads on Saturday, Marshall head coach Doc Holliday saw something expected, but pleasing just the same.

“They put the pads on and they didn’t slow down a whole lot,” Holliday said. “We’ve got some guys that have played a lot of football around here, so it should look that way.”

Marshall has nine starters on each side of the football back for the 2018 season, which means there is plenty of continuity within the personnel. With two new coordinators, however, in Tim Cramsey (offense) and Adam Fuller (defense), there might be some wrinkles to which players will have to adjust. The tendency is that when players are within a new scheme, they think instead of reacting, which makes them a step slower than what the coaches want. That can throw off the timing of the entire unit’s production.

Holliday said mistakes are to be expected as everyone adjusts on the fly, but as long as they are flying, he is okay. After all, the whole purpose of spring is to see things on the field and get them corrected, whether from a standpoint of execution or a schematics.

“The first two or three days, you are going to make some mistakes, but after that, they need to get corrected,” Holliday said. “There wasn’t a lot (of mistakes Saturday), to be honest. I thought it was pretty clean, but moving forward, we’ve got to eliminate any mistakes, MAs (missed assignments) and keep moving forward.”

Many eyes are on the offense, which will usher in a new quarterback in the fall with former quarterback Chase Litton declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft. Right now, quarterbacks Isaiah Green and Garet Morrell are working on getting Cramsey’s offense down while also building chemistry with targets in the passing game. Graduate transfer Alex Thomson will also join the mix in late May after finishing his degree at Wagner this spring.

Cramsey said that his emphasis this spring is making the transition easy and allowing the team’s playmakers to use their abilities to maximum potential within the scheme.

“We’re keeping terminology the same, as much as possible, for these guys so they can get aligned quick and understand it quick,” Cramsey said. “There are going to be a couple new schemes that go in, and I’ve been very pleased that they’ve picked up very quickly, which is really good.”

Part of that ease in transition is attributed to experience on the outside with seniors Tyre Brady and Marcel Williams joining sophomore Willie Johnson as starters back in the mix. When getting a new quarterback acclimated, experienced receivers quickly become their best friend on the field, and Holliday said those receivers showcased their ability on the first day in pads Saturday.

“I thought the receivers made some plays, but we’ve just got to keep getting better,” Holliday said. “I thought, overall, I liked the way they ran around and the way they handled themselves.”

Brady, who battled health issues throughout the 2017 season, looks back to 100 percent and showed an extra gear in separating from defensive backs on Saturday.

“He’s had another year in the weight room and he’s a good player,” Holliday said. “We know what he can do. The thing about Tyre, he loves football and when he gets out here on the field, he just goes to work. He’s fun to watch.”

Marshall’s players get set for their fourth practice of spring and second in full pads on Tuesday.