Mountaineers and Herd Kick Off 2014 Season
The state’s two Division 1 football programs kick off their seasons on the road Saturday afternoon.
Both Marshall and WVU kickoff at 3:30. Marshall is headed to Oxford, Ohio to take on the Miami University Red Hawks. The Mountaineers have a slightly tougher challenge Saturday as they travel to Atlanta for a matchup with Alabama, the team ranked number two in both the USA Today and Associated Press Preseason Polls.
WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen knows it will be a challenge.
“When you think of an Alabama team and you think of Coach Saban, it’s going to be defense and Kirby Smart has been there defensive coordinator for a long time, been with Nick for a long time,” Holgorsen said. “They do a great job of recruiting top notch talent, big fast strong guys, some of the better players in the country each and every year.”
The matchup with Alabama also presents a unique challenge for Alabama coach Nick Saban. Saban is a native of Fairmont and grew up rooting for the Mountaineers.
“When I was a kid--man, to go to Mountaineer Field and watch West Virginia play that was the highlight of my year,” Saban said. “I still have great memories of home and I have great memories of the people and relationships that I have at home and I’ve always kind of been a Mountaineer fan.”
While the Mountaineers are tussling with the Crimson Tide, Marshall will begin its most hyped season since the early 2000’s with a trip to Miami of Ohio. Doc Holliday said because the Redhawks have a new coach in Chuck Martin, the former Notre Dame assistant, they’re not sure what Miami’s offense and defense will look like.
“Chuck is a heck of a football coach, he coach on the defensive side of the ball early on at Notre Dame and then became the offensive coordinator,” Holliday said. “He was at Grand Valley state and a lot of different places and has been very successful wherever he’s been, so we don’t know exactly what we’re getting, so we went clear back to Grand Valley and clear back to Notre Dame, we have to prepare for a lot of different things.”
Senior tight end Eric Frohnapfel said he’s been happy to see how excited Marshall fans are for the season.
“I know my phone has just been, bloom bloom, I’ve gotten Facebook notifications and tweets from people that have countdowns going and they’re putting up these messages, so it’s good to see the turnout from the fans and they’re really excited and hopefully we can travel a large crowd there and I’m glad to see it, it’s that time of the year, the excitement is in the air and I’m happy to see it,” Frohnapfel said.
WVU and Alabama will be televised on ABC Saturday at 3:30. Marshall’s Matchup with Miami University is on ESPN3 at 3:30 as well.