This will be the 10th year for Doc Holliday at Marshall. There have been ups (13-1 in 2014) and downs (3-9 in 2016), but all in all his tenure in Huntington has been incredibly successful.
The defense was great last year but there is a lot of turnover in the front seven. Inconsistency at the quarterback spot was an issue with a freshman as the #1 guy, but there is a great mix of young guys with a ton of potential and experienced familiar faces and this team has a shot at ten wins after going 9-4 a year ago.
Freshman QB Isaiah Green was inconsistent last year (56.7% completion rate, 15 touchdowns, ten interceptions, 7.5 YPA) but did deal with an injury, leading Wagner transfer Alex Thomson to come in, who struggled a lot.
Both QBs are back along with the top two rushers in Tyler King and Brenden Knox who each averaged 6.1 YPA last year and should see increased touches as Keion Davis and Anthony Anderson are both gone. The line was alright but gets four starters back including C Levi Brown. JUCO transfer and former Florida State starter Josh Ball is a name to watch at LT.
The biggest loss on the offensive side of the ball is WR Tyre Brady who took in 1,002 yards last year along with nine touchdowns. Slot man Marcel Williams is also gone. Obi Obialo will be the new #1 after 505 yards (12 YPC) last year, and TE Armani Levias is a guy to keep an eye on after bringing in 13.1 YPC last year.
Some names will have to step up in the receiving corps like Artie Henry or Kentucky transfer Tavin Richardson, but with the key names back on the line, and the top two QBs and RBs back, this offense should have a good year.
The offense was alright last year, but the defense was awesome, one of the best in the G5, so good that DC Adam Fuller got hired away to Maryland after just one year on the job. DL coach JC Price and former Charlotte HC Brad Lambert are the new co-DCs.
Channing Hames, Ty Tyler, and Marquis Couch are back on the line after combining for 12 TFL and 18.5 sacks last year, although the depth behind them is scant so injuries may be a concern. Senior sam linebacker Omari Cobb (7.5 TFL) will be the leader on the second level, joined by Virginia Tech transfer Tevante Beckett and former four-star recruit Jaquan Yulee.
The secondary should be great with corners Kereon Merrell and Chris Jackson back after combining for 22 PBUs last year. Nazeeh Johnson and Brandon Drayton look to be the starters at safety.
Depth is a serious concern for me with this defense and if the injury bug hits there are going to be a lot of underclassmen seeing playing time a little too soon, but at a surface level this is still the best defense in the conference.
There are some big names on this team and a lot of talented young faces, but depth is scant, especially in the front seven and the receiving corps.
This season will likely come down to whether or not Green can cut down on stupid mistakes and how many injuries come the Herd’s way, because this team has the potential to win ten games or just be an ok C-USA team.
|Date||Opponent||OPP. RANK||Proj. Margin|
|6-Sep||at Boise State||24||-16.2|
|5-Oct||at Middle Tennessee||104||5.6|
|18-Oct||at Florida Atlantic||79||-2.4|
Average Projected Record: 7.9 wins, 4.1 losses (5.5 wins, 2.5 losses)