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Chuck Landon: Holliday's staff hit with high turnover

Mar. 10, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

And then there was one.

Going until Marshall head coach Doc Holliday's fourth season, that's how many original members of his first football coaching staff remain.

Only one.

Offensive coordinator Bill Legg, who was the offensive line coach during that first season in 2010, is the lone holdover now that running backs coach JaJuan Seider has left for WVU.

In case Marshall fans have forgotten, that initial coaching staff included Tony Petersen, quarterbacks; Phil Ratliff, tight ends; Zach Smith, wide receivers; Sean Cronin, defensive line; Chris Rippon, defensive coordinator and linebackers; Mike Cassity, secondary; Fred Tate, safeties; Frank Piraino, strength and conditioning; Legg; and Seider.

What a difference three years makes.

During that time-frame such coaches as James Townsend (strength and conditioning), Gerad Parker (wideouts), Geep Wade (offensive line), Latrell Pollard (cornerbacks), Joe Miday (strength and conditioning) and Anthony Midget (cornerbacks) also have come and gone.

In fact, Legg is the only remaining coach from a Marshall offense that was ranked No. 1 in passing (365.1 yards per game) and No. 6 in total offense (534.25 yards) in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

And guess what?

The Herd nearly lost him, too.

Legg actually interviewed for the offensive coordinator position at Southern Cal, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. He wasn't offered the job, so Legg withdrew his name, which is customary.

But imagine if Legg had gotten the job and Marshall would have been left with nary a coach on the offensive side of the ball after fielding such a juggernaut in 2012.

It boggles the mind.

Now, here's the good news. It appears Holliday has done an exemplary job of replacing assistants and coordinators.

By all accounts Chuck Heater was a great hire as defensive coordinator and secondary coach. The same is true of Adam Fuller, who brings coordinator experience to his role as linebacker coach. And don't forget Scott Sinclair, as the new strength and conditioning head coach.

On the offensive side, Alex Mirabal was truly a find as offensive line coach and Mike Furrey, as the new wide receivers coach, is certain to be a tremendous role model both on the field with his NFL resume and off with his charity foundation.

So, it stands to reason Holliday will make another good hire to replace Seider as running backs coach. As for the recruiting coordinator duties, look for Todd Hartley to assume those besides moving to tight ends coach.

All in all, Marshall's football coaching staff has been through quite a transition during the off-season. Yet, at least on paper, it appears to have weathered the changes superbly.

Let's just hope the Herd doesn't have to go through this again next year.

TALKING HEADS: If I were Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky, a few of those heads would roll.

Did anybody watch the recent CSS telecast of Marshall's 103-76 loss at Houston? At halftime, the commentators interviewed Cougars' athletic director Mack Rhoades who expounded on how great and wonderful it was to leave C-USA and join the league formerly known as the Big East.

And CSS is a C-USA television partner?

Really?

In that case, Banowky should have had a very pointed conversation with CSS officials about the poorly chosen halftime interview.

Talking heads, indeed.

Obviously, they were dead from the mouth up.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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