The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 13, 2013

November grind going well for Herd so far

Marshall in middle of 5-game, 27-day stretch to the end

Final exams don’t start for another month, but Marshall’s football players feel like they are already there.

The Thundering Herd’s 61-13 win over Southern Miss on Nov. 2 began a stretch of five games over 27 days. After having a bye week in September and another last month, there is no time off in November.

It’s even more of a grind right now, with the Herd (6-3, 4-1 Conference USA) preparing for Thursday night’s game at Tulsa (2-7, 1-4). The game (7:30 p.m Eastern, Fox Sports 1) comes just five days after Marshall’s 56-14 win over UAB last Saturday.

It has the feel of cramming for finals, agrees coach Doc Holliday. But Holliday also says his team should be more than ready.

“We are in our tenth game of the year. We’ve played and practiced now for a long time,” he said. “If you’re pretty good on offense, then you don’t change a whole lot. You will continue to do what you do well. Defensively, you aren’t going to add a whole lot of different defenses. You just do what you do and get better at it. There may be a few wrinkles because of what they (Tulsa) may do offensively or how they line up on defense. ... We will continue to work and get better at what we’ve been doing.”

Preparations have been made to make sure the Herd handles the short week properly, Holliday added.

“There’s no doubt that (the practice week) is more condensed,” he said. “It is more condensed for Tulsa, too. If they had an open week and we didn’t, it would be a little different, but we both played. Tulsa got back late (after last Saturday’s 58-24 loss at East Carolina). We have to travel. We just have to do the best we can to get everything covered.

“We don’t play until 6:30 (Central time) Thursday night, which will give us time to prepare at the hotel as well. Our kids have done a great job with preparation. It will be critical that the coaches and players do a great job from now until 6:30 Thursday night. I know that they will.”

Holliday is encouraged by the way the team has performed in its last two weeks. Granted, the opponents were two of the worst in the conference, but Marshall was not challenged in compiling 1,293 yards and 127 points.

“We talked a few weeks ago about playing our best football in November and I think we are playing our best football right now,” Holliday said. “There isn’t a lot of waiting around now. We are just teeing it up and going again. I think we have 18-to-19 days and three games. There has to be some urgency there, and there is.

“I like this team. I’ve said all along that I like this team. I like the way they’ve prepared and the way they’ve handled themselves. They understand that they have to go play well Thursday night.”

— E-mail: gfauber@

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