HUNTINGTON - It is no surprise that football coaches love Saturdays in the fall.
It's what Marshall University head coach Doc Holliday has lived for in his 40-plus years of coaching. However, everyone might not realize Holliday is just as passionate about Saturdays in the spring.
During the times when the Thundering Herd is going through spring practice, Saturdays are a time when Holliday and his staff take a step back from the instruction portion and the team gets into more live periods. It's a chance for the coaches to see how players respond in game-like situations, which gives insight as to who they can trust on Saturdays in the fall.
"We've got competition at several positions, so we are looking at that really close," Holliday said. "You like to see that in the spring and see how they react when in those types of situations."
Holliday said Saturday's 10 a.m. session, which could move indoors from Joan C. Edwards Stadium to the Chris Cline Athletic Complex if weather patterns hold true, will feature live periods while also covering special teams situations. Even though it will be live action, the coaches will put in some different situational play that includes red zone and down-and-distance situations.
One thing Saturday's action likely won't feature is many returning players who are solidified in their positions.
Players such as wide receiver Obi Obialo, linebacker Omari Cobb, cornerback Chris Jackson and others might get limited or even no repetitions as Holliday and the staff get a closer look at the younger talent on the roster.
"There are some people who have been around a long time that I don't need to go out and see in scrimmages," Holliday said. "You are trying to get some of these young kids as many reps as possible. We've got some young freshmen and other young kids that need every rep they can possibly get."
A few players that the Herd offensive coaching staff might have a keen eye on during Saturday's action include tight end Devin Miller, quarterback Grant Wells, running back Sheldon Evans and wide receivers Talik Keaton, Ty Terrell and Naquan Renalds.
"There are a lot of young guys out there competing each day and making each other better," Marshall offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey said. "We want to see what those guys can do and how they can help us moving forward."
On the defensive side much of the focus will be on the front line with players such as Jamare Edwards, Arak McDuffie, Koby Cumberlander and others getting a look. Darius Hodge also will get some valuable repetitions at linebacker Saturday after having shifted to the spot near the end of last week.
Hodge is a play maker for the Herd defense, but Holliday and the staff are using spring to find his best fit.
"He's looks good wherever you put him," Holliday said. "The good thing about him is that we can still get him in pass rush situations, too. We're just trying to take advantage of his skill set."
Saturday's session will wrap up week four of Marshall's spring period, which leaves just three more practices out of the 15 allotted by the NCAA.
Next week's final practice is the annual Green-White Scrimmage, which will start at 2 p.m. April 27.