Saturday, August 28, 2010

HOLLIDAY PRAISES PRYOR, HEYWARD; HERD TO START ANDERSON, BOOKER

Photo of Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor
by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — When asked how he intends to stop Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor during Thursday night's season opener against the Buckeyes, Marshall first-year head coach Doc Holliday said that he will turn to a higher power.

"Hope and pray, I guess," Holliday laughed while speaking to the media on Friday about his preparation plans against Pryor.

Holliday admitted though, that even prayer may not prevent the Buckeye star from making his defense miserable.

"I'm not sure you can totally contain him," Holliday continued. "He is going to make his plays. Teams like to try to keep him in the pocket and make him beat you with his arm, but with that being said, he has beaten teams with his arm towards the end of the season a year ago.

"He has the ability to do that and he has the ability to get out of the pocket and beat you on the ground. He is a great challenge for us."

The Herd head man said he is quite aware that Pryor will create some major challenges for his defense, especially when he gets out of the pocket and begins ad libbing.

"Where he created a major issue is when he gets out of the pocket and improvises," Holliday said of Pryor. "I was watching some game tape today and he gets out on the the perimeter. He's a man. But he has become a great quarterback, too. If you look at that Rose Bowl game last year, he is good at all phases now. He sits in the pocket and throws it, and when he takes off on his feet he is dangerous.

"He is going to create a major issue for every team that he plays against this year."

Holliday, who used to be a defensive assistant at Florida (2005-07), said that Pryor is quite similar to former Gators quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow, in the fact that you just can't line up and blitz him all day.

"You better get him if you blitz him," Holliday said. "Because if you don't then you are one-on-one out there on the corners with their great wide outs. What happens when you blitz, when teams would blitz us at Florida with Tim Tebow, they would miss a tackle and then Tebow would throw it 80 yards down field to Percy Harvin.

"So when you blitz Pryor you better get him to the ground. But the trouble with Pryor is that he is tough to get to the ground. He is big, physical and strong. If you go to blitz him and he breaks a tackle that creates an issue for you leaving your corners out there one-on-one. But we just have to mix it up. We can't do everything all the time, but we will have to get after him and see what we can do."

Cameron Heyward
(TBT/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)
HOLLIDAY ADMITS HE'S GETTING OLD ... While being an assistant at West Virginia (1979-1999), Holliday tried to recruit a star player named Craig "Iron Head" Heyward. The big kid passed on his offer and went to the University of Pittsburgh instead, where he became a star and an eventual first round NFL draft pick.

More than 25 years later, Holliday will facing the late-Heyward's son — Cameron Heyward — this Thursday night in Columbus, making the new Marshall coach feel a little seasoned.

"What makes you feel old is when you recruit the sons of the players you have recruited," Holliday laughed.

He added that when he was at Florida he tried to recruit "Baby Iron Head" as well.

"We recruited Cameron Heyward when I was at Florida," Holliday said. "Heyward is projected to be a top ten pick in the NFL draft. He's not only an excellent player but he's an excellent kid, too. He plays extremely hard. They don't have to move him around much because they don't have to.

"(Heyward) lines up and kicks the heck out of everyone anyways. So he will be a great challenge for us."

Brian Anderson
(WVMetroNews)
ANDERSON, BOOKER NAMED STARTERS ... Marshall released its depth chart for the Ohio State game and one of the biggest questions going into the season was on who the Herd's starting quarterback would be? Well, it'll be the same as they had last season — senior Brian Anderson.

Anderson beat out Clemson-transfer QB Willy Korn, who many experts thought was going to win the job. Korn, after being switched to safety, left the team and will play at Division II North Greenville. Anderson had an up-and-down season in 2009, finishing with 2,646 yards passing (58 percent completion rate), 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Also, sophomore running back Andre Booker was named the starter over Martin Ward, who was the Most Valuable Player of the Little Caesars Bowl last season.

The Herd likes the quickness of the 5-foot-10, 180 pound Booker. They compare him to West Virginia star tailback, Noel Devine.

— To discuss this story or any others involving Ohio State football, click here.