Marshall football notebook: Herd assistant leaves for Purdue
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- While Marshall Coach Doc Holliday has reportedly filled one coaching position on the defensive staff, he'll have to fill one on the offensive staff as well.
Herd receivers coach Gerad Parker is headed to Purdue to coach tight ends and serve as recruiting coordinator, according to Marshall sources. That news came just days after the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press reported that University of Tennessee-Chattanooga defensive coordinator Adam Fuller will join the Herd staff.
Parker came to Marshall in March 2011. This past season he helped make the Thundering Herd the top passing offense in the Football Bowl Subdivision, averaging 365.08 yards per game. Three of his receivers finished in the FBS top 50 in receptions per game. Sophomore Tommy Shuler was first with 9.17 per game, while senior Antavious Wilson was 46th with 5.75 per game and Aaron Dobson was tied for 48th with 5.70 per game.
Shuler was named to the all-Conference USA first team, while Dobson was named to the second team and Wilson earned honorable mention.
Fuller also coached linebackers at UTC, and the Herd had an opening for a linebackers coach. The Times Free Press said UTC Coach Russ Huesman informed it of the move. Fuller spent four seasons as the Mocs' defensive coordinator. The position opened when new defensive assistant Anthony Midget, introduced on Jan. 28, left for a job at Penn State. Midget's role on the Herd's staff had not yet been announced.
Fuller's Mocs defense finished the 2012 season ranked 10th in the Football Championship Subdivision in total defense (307.91) and 18th in scoring defense (20.36 points per game). It finished 13th in total defense and 17th in scoring defense in 2011.
Marshall Sports Information Director Jason Corriher said the university could not confirm Fuller's hire.
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HOLLIDAY ADMITTED he had a pretty good recruiting pitch over the last couple of weeks before National Signing Day. He could point to the rosters of the two Super Bowl teams and show prospects that former Herd players were there in force.
"Every opportunity we got," he said. "Every conversation we had ended with that for the last two weeks."
The Herd had four former players on Super Bowl rosters, two on each team. Linebacker Albert McClellan and safety Omar Brown played for the NFL champion Baltimore Ravens, while wide receiver Randy Moss and defensive back C.J. Spillman played for the San Francisco 49ers. Depending on the list you use, Marshall had either the second- or third-most players of any school. Counting members of the active roster and the practice squad, only Miami (seven) and Oregon (five) had more. Looking at just the active roster, only Miami's five eclipsed Marshall.
"That's great exposure for us," Holliday said. "Kids, they all have dreams. They all have dreams of playing in the NFL and that's a good thing. When I recruit those kids, I always tell them that I want two things, that my job as a head coach four years down the road is to have you walk out of Marshall with a college degree in that hand and an NFL contract in the other one.
"A lot of people say, 'Doc, you shouldn't talk like that,'" he added. "But I have extremely high expectations and extremely high standards. And I want to surround myself with kids who have those same dreams and same expectations."
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THE HERD hurdled a language barrier in bringing one of its 2013 signees into the fold.
Offensive lineman Sandley Jean-Felix, once a Florida International verbal commitment, signed with Marshall on Wednesday. But promoting Marshall to Jean-Felix's parents brought with it unique difficulties, as they spoke Creole and little English.
Holliday said they found someone at Jean-Felix's high school, Boyd Anderson High in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., who spoke Creole to sit in on the Marshall coaches' visit.
"If there's a will, there's a way," he said. "You're getting into that more and more. With Haitian kids and kids who speak different languages, you're running into that more and more, because those kids are becoming good players."
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BASED ON some of the Twitter feeds of Marshall football players, they're pretty impressed with new strength and conditioning coach Scott Sinclair.
"Woke up this morning actually looking forward to working out," wrote linebacker Derek Mitchell.
Holliday is impressed as well.
"I love what he's all about," Holliday said. "We hit a home run with that guy. He's done a tremendous job. (The players have) responded well, and I like what's going on in the weight room."
Sinclair came to Marshall at the end of January after spending nine years as the associate director of strength and conditioning at Central Florida.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.