HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Of all the things the Marshall football team will work on during its bye week this week, Coach Doc Holliday said the most important might be getting healthy.
Bumps and bruises accumulate through a month of preseason practice and six games and the schedule leaves little time to heal. Center Chris Jasperse hasn't missed a game, but Holliday said he's spent the last four weeks wearing a walking boot. Many players are clad in red non-contact jerseys during practice and Holliday said that limits those players' progression, especially on defense.
"You get better by practicing and going out and being physical with live tackling and really doing it," he said. "You only get better tackling, and when you're out there in a red jersey all the time not able to tackle and work on fundamentals and techniques, you regress as a player."
This week should help in that regard. The Thundering Herd players had Sunday and Monday off, lifted and ran Tuesday, will practice in shorts today and go through full practice Thursday and Friday. So by Sunday, when the Herd begins preparing for Southern Mississippi, Holliday expects everyone to be able to practice at 100 percent.
As far as injured players returning, Holliday said defensive lineman Ken Smith was a possible candidate, but "probably not" defensive lineman James Rouse and corner Darryl Roberts. And don't expect any offensive players to shift to defense to fill in the gaps at this point, like running back Travon Van did switching to corner before the Rice game.
"I'm not sure we can take an offensive lineman and put him on defense," Holliday said. "At this point in the year, we have to get the guys we're playing with better at their positions. It's hard to manufacture a guy six games into the season. In a goal-line situation, you may stick a big guy in there, but actually playing in the field, that'd be a tough thing to do."
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MARSHALL'S COACHES were out on the recruiting trail at the beginning of this week, Holliday said. They'll all be back today.
Holliday said having the bye week in the middle of the season actually helps in the recruiting process.