HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall football coach Doc Holliday can't wait to see the 2013 edition of his team out of the practice field on Monday.
He just wishes he could see them some more before that.
As Holliday previewed the start of his fourth preseason camp during a Monday press conference, he discussed how little the NCAA allows football coaches to interact with their players in the offseason. NCAA guidelines severely limit how those coaches and players work together. Strength and conditioning coaches are the only staff members who can oversee summer training.
"I just think it's a shame - and I'm not talking about going out and practicing and all that," Holliday said. "I'm just talking about getting around the kids and getting in the weight room. I mean, we can't even watch them work out. It's crazy."
That's what made hiring Thundering Herd strength and conditioning coach Scott Sinclair in January from the University of Central Florida so important, said Holliday, who praised Sinclair's work this summer. But Holliday's desire goes past Xs and Os. He wants more summer interaction with his players to make sure they're making the right choices in the classroom and in their personal lives.
There has been talk of giving football coaches eight hours a week like they have in the spring, Holliday said. Other sports have found a way to let coaches work with players during the summer. The NCAA gives basketball teams two full hours of instruction per week during the summer, something Marshall is taking advantage of right now.
"Basketball's found a way to do it," Holliday said. "I don't think we need to find a way to go out and practice three days a week in the summer, but I think we need to get involved with our kids and get around them, because as a head coach, I'm sure as hell accountable for them."
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ONE NUMBER that makes Holliday a happy man is 85. That's the number of scholarship players he has on the team this year. Since he arrived a number of factors - players being dismissed, players transferring, players who originally came to Marshall to play for the former coaching regime leaving - has kept the Herd's roster below the 85-scholarship limit.
And there might be some players under the radar who end up on campus as the season draws closer, Holliday said. Last-minute academic non-qualifiers have come to Marshall before. Running back Kevin Grooms, the reigning Conference USA freshman of the year, came to Marshall in September 2011 as an academic non-qualifier after signing with Miami in the spring. And defensive end Gary Thompson and defensive lineman Josh Brown both arrived as non-qualifiers at the end of last August.
"There will be some guys I can't comment on that will probably walk in here on Sunday," he said. "And we'll have guys when school starts that walk in here that we can't comment on."