Weekly Presser Notes - Old Dominion

Marshall is set to take on Old Dominion Saturday, October 4th at noon on Fox Sports Net. It will be a battle of two of the top producing quarterbacks in Conference USA as Marshall’s Rakeem Cato is set to battle Old Dominion’s Tyler Heinicke. This story contains a summary of comments from Doc Holliday’s weekly press conference.



Team captains for the week will be wide receiver Tommy Shuler, Center Chris Jasperse, defensive tackle James Rouse and defensive back Darryl Roberts.

We have great respect for Old Dominion and their staff. They have done an amazing job thus far. Their quarterback is one of the best we will play. They have two NFL wide receivers, Pascal and Vaughan (Zach Pascal 33 catches for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Vaughan who has 27 catches for 385 yards and 7 touchdowns). They put a lot of points on the board regardless of who they are playing. They will have a hostile environment for sure. He isn’t really concerned about his team being intimidated, just wants them to be focused and not to make mistakes on snap counts, etc. Both he and his team would much rather play in a great environment rather than an empty stadium.

Both quarterbacks are similar. They are very good at making plays down the field and extending plays with their legs all the while keeping their eyes down field. They are also always looking for an extra possession. They have three onside kicks on the year and they have went for it on fourth down thirteen times, converting nine of them.

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They also will have Heinicke punt. He is very athletic. The only down fall to that is when he does punt, they have their base offense on the field. This does allow for some big returns due to several offensive lineman being on the field to make tackles instead of skill position players. Similar to what happened in the Alabama/Auburn game when the field goal kick was returned for a touchdown while lineman were trying to make the tackles. Get one or two blocks and big plays could happen.

They like to stretch the field and although their running game numbers are not that high, they use the short passing game instead of passing. Their running back, Gerard Johnson (65 carries for 354 yards and one touchdown), has 20 catches for 104 yards.

Heinicke takes the snap a little deeper than most quarterbacks do out of shot gun. Due to this after he takes his drop, he is able to step up into the pocket and keep pressure off. The defensive front four has to do a good job getting pressure on the quarterback.

Doc hopes to get off to a fast start. This team has done a good job getting off to fast starts home or away recently.

Old Dominion does a very good job at stripping the ball and forcing turnovers.

Treated the bye week like we always have. We had some nagging injuries that we needed to get healed up and everyone is ready, Rouse, Devon Johnson, all are ready.

Last week off week turned out very well when we got to prepare for UTSA. This team likes to throw it around, it was real good to be able to have an extra week to prepare.

We have to be able to cover in the defensive backfield, and we have to get pressure. We cant let him (Heinicke) stand back there. He will make throws, has a lot of good players around him. They took NC State down to the wire, they have played some really good teams. They went to Rice and won. We respect their entire offense.

Evaluation of the pass rush the first four games. Good job mixing things up, middle of the pack in sacks, but getting a lot of good pressure, which is causing some interceptions. People are getting the ball out so quick, but the pressure is causing bad throws and interceptions.

Try to eliminate the easy access throws, make the qb hold onto the ball a little longer and get some sacks. We have to be good at mixing up coverages and pressures. Have to do several different things to stop offenses like this.

They score a lot of points. One of the worse feelings he ever had as a coach was when he felt like he had to outscore people. That is the way I felt a couple years ago and that is not a good feeling.

They looked really good against NC State, Rice, and Middle Tennessee, and played ECU really well last year. Amazing on how far they are already. If we don’t go up there and play our tails off we will get beat. You see it every week. Who would have thought Akron would beat Pitt, or Boston College would lose to Colorado State after beating USC.

The Eastern Michigan game was out of the ordinary, there was a downpour (rain) that day which kept point totals down.

I felt like Devon Johnson would be a really good player, and our offense would be good, but Im not going to lie, I didn’t think it would be where it is. The offensive line is very good right now, I am happy that we can run the football. The injury to Big Swede wasn’t good, but it enabled us to get A.J. Addison and Trevor Mendleson a lot of quality playing time.

We have to go in there extremely well prepared. Leadership is a key, those four captains have to go in there and lead us. We have to be a very tough football team, and right now we are. We are physically and mentally tough team right now.

We are balanced because we take what the defense gives us. We do not go in planning to be balanced. We are not going to try and put square pegs in round holes to be balanced. We will take what the defense gives us every time. That is why we ran on so many third downs against Akron. They didn’t have enough hats in the box.

We are a good defense right now because we are getting off the field on third downs. That will be very critical on Saturday against ODU. We then have to get off the field on 4th down, they have went for it multiple times, and more often than not, they convert and gain an extra possession.

Number 30, Johnson is a very good running back. They may not run it much, but they get it to him a lot out of the backfield. They are very similar to us. They will take what we give them. NC State lined up in a 4-1 box and they ran the ball effectively against that.

We have done a good job stopping the ball, and it is making teams throw the ball.

Keith Baxter is back and healthy now. We have been able to rotate him in which is very helpful to us.

Rodney Allen is going to be a real player. He has to just learn more.

Antavis Rowe played almost 100 plays, including special teams, against Akron.

If we are in single digit missed tackles on Saturday, we will win. We tackle live every week so we are becoming good at that aspect of the game.

Justin Hunt, Davonte Allen, Angelo Jean Louis and Craig Wilkins are all starting to win outside. We needed to get that fixed from a year ago and hopefully we have.

Cato could care less how many times he throws it, in fact I think he would rather run for one than throw for one, these kids are just concerned about winning.

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