Emotional Holliday says Green will start vs. 49ers
HUNTINGTON — On Tuesday afternoon, Marshall University football head coach Doc Holliday confirmed that quarterback Isaiah Green will start for the Thundering Herd against Charlotte at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Considering Green played the entire second half last weekend in a 26-24 loss to Southern Miss, that wasn’t really much of a surprise.
The surprise came as the question-and-answer portion of Holliday’s weekly news conference was drawing to a close.
Unsolicited, Holliday took a moment to talk about the decision to insert Green into the game late in the first half. Holliday became emotional speaking about the scrutinized matter.
The move came after an Alex Thomson interception led to a Southern Miss touchdown late in the first half that knotted the game 10-10 with less than a minute left before halftime. Green took the field with 44 seconds left and was hit from behind on his first snap. The subsequent fumble bounced into the hands of Southern Miss’ Darian Yancey, who returned it for a score that gave the Golden Eagles a 17-10 lead at the break after they had trailed less than a minute prior.
“I think, No. 1, we felt like we needed a spark because, offensively, we weren’t doing what we wanted to get done offensively,” Holliday said. “We felt like we had a quarterback and we needed to make that change at that point, and we felt like we wanted to be aggressive at that point offensively. Hindsight is 20/20. Knowing what we know now, it wasn’t a great decision.”
Holliday alluded to a similar situation late in the first half of a loss to Middle Tennessee when Marshall had possession looking to go up two scores, but a turnover led to a game-tying score. In that situation, the Herd remained aggressive offensively and the result was a touchdown that put the Herd back in front 17-10 at halftime.
“I’m not saying it’s the same situation, but if you go back to the Middle Tennessee game that we played, we had the exact amount (of time) within five or six seconds on the clock — I think there were 54 seconds left in the half — we were aggressive again offensively and, in 17 seconds, we scored a touchdown and went in (17-10) at the half, which was a great decision at that point,” Holliday said.
As Holliday dove further into his reflection on the decision, his voice wavered and the emotions started to hit a bit harder for the Herd’s ninth-year head coach.
“There’s no question that after the fact, it’s easy for us to sit back and say we’ve made a great decision or we’ve made a bad decision,” he said. “At that point, I’ll be honest with you, I feel terrible about that decision because it hurt our football team. ...
“I can assure you one thing: As the head football coach here, I’m responsible for all those decisions. Regardless, I can assure you that I love this university and I love this football team and I love what this community is all about. And we’re going to work extremely hard to put these kids in situations to win. That’s all I care about.”
Holliday has always stressed the importance of accountability for the program’s success.
On Tuesday afternoon, however, Holliday didn’t just preach it to his players. He practiced it as well.
CHARLOTTE (4-5, 3-2) at MARSHALL (5-3, 3-2)
When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington
Radio: WDGG 93.7-FM, ESPN 94.1-FM and 930-AM, WMUL 88.1-FM