Chuck Landon: Doc sees potential in freshman receiver
We call him "Doc."
Even Marshall's public relations campaign for the 2010 football season refers to the Herd's new head coach as being "Just What The Doc(tor) Ordered."
But there's one part that's still puzzling.
Just what kind of doctor is John "Doc" Holliday?
I'm pleased to report that I have unraveled the medical mystery.
Holliday is an optometrist.
An eye doctor.
I know because he gave me a diagnosis Thursday.
After the 6 a.m. practice, Holliday and I huddled for our customary post-press conference chat and I remarked that I was slightly disappointed in the true freshmen wide receivers. That's when Doc revealed his medical credentials.
"Keep an eye on Demetrius Evans this afternoon," recommended Holliday.
So I did.
And I got an eyeful.
Evans put on a show in the lengthy situational scrimmage, catching ball after ball during the early going. The highlight was a 60-yard touchdown reception courtesy of true freshman quarterback Ed Sullivan -- a future combination if ever there was one.
But the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Evans also caught some quick slants and wide receiver screens. He caught balls both long and short.
Not bad for a guy who was the last scholarship true freshman to join Marshall's preseason camp. That's why Evans still was wearing just shoulders pads and a helmet for the scrimmage.
"This was just his fifth practice," said Holliday. "He'll be in full pads from now on."
That means fans will get a chance to watch No. 88 in full equipment when the Herd practices at 10:45 a.m., Saturday, at Edwards Stadium. More situational scrimmaging is expected.
More Evans highlights are anticipated, as well.
"He has great ball skills," said Holliday. "And he has really strong hands. I think he's going to be a good one. He's an outside receiver and Jermaine Kelson will be inside.
"So, we'll be OK."
Doc was eyeing the future and even the small letters at the bottom of the chart were readable. This is a young team with lots of talented, young players and nobody realizes it more than Holliday.
A check of an updated roster reveals 50 of the 105 players in preseason camp are either true freshmen or red-shirt freshmen.
That's an eye-opener.
Courtesy of the eye Doc.
WHAT IF: The NCAA's recent allegations of five serious rule violations by WVU opens an intriguing can of Friends of Coal Bowl worms.
What if the Mountaineers were forced to vacate victories? And what if those reversed wins included WVU's 42-10 victory over Marshall in 2006 and the 48-23 win over the Herd in '07?
Remember the scenario? The winner of two of the first three games earned the opportunity to host the fourth game in the MU-WVU series.
So, if the Mountaineers were forced to vacate those wins wouldn't it mean that WVU owes Marshall an additional home game in Edwards Stadium?
WINS & ENROLLMENT: Marshall is welcoming a freshman class of 2,100 incoming students after the football team's first winning season since 2003, the first bowl win since 2002 and the men's basketball team's most victories since the 1987-88 season.
Think that's a coincidence?
Successful athletics are a proven tool for increasing enrollment.
SING ALONG WITH CHUCK: In light of the NCAA allegations, perhaps it's time for WVU to reconsider its theme song. Instead of the crowd singing, "Country Roads" after Mountaineer home games, how about a more timely selection?
One of Hank Williams' hits comes to mind.
"Your cheatin' heart ..."
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827. E-mail him at email@example.com.
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