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New Marshall Football Coach Charles Huff Hopes to Hit the Ground Running with Herd



New Marshall University football coach Charles Huff. (photo by Austin O'Connor/Marshall University)

Charles Huff was introduced as the 31st head football coach in Marshall University history on Tuesday, and the 37-year old’s energy was palpable throughout his live-streamed introductory press conference from MU’s campus in Huntington.

Huff, a Maryland native who takes over the Thundering Herd following a stint as Alabama’s associate head coach/running backs coach that included winning the most recent College Football Playoff, gave a passionate round of remarks and answers to questions from the media following introductions by Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick and president Jerome Gilbert.

“Everyone should take the attitude that we’re working to be a champion,” Huff said. “We’re not working for championships. We’re not working for a certain game. We’re working to be a champion in everything that we do. Everyone’s got to take ownership, relative to their role in the program, that they are going to be the best and commit to making it the best program in Conference USA.”

Among Huff’s first tasks with the Herd will be filling out his coaching staff and attempting to keep Marshall’s roster and recruits intact. All indications are some members of Doc Holliday’s staff could return under Huff, but others will not which means there are going to be holes to fill. The same thing goes for the roster. Huff inherits a team that was ranked for a large portion of the 2020 season and played in the Conference USA championship game but loses some key players to graduation and the prospects of a professional career — now the new coach has to sell those that remain on his vision.


Huff said Tuesday he has not had time to do much of anything since officially signing the papers and taking over the program, but he has a plan in place.

“It’s my job to recruit the current players and the current coaches because you don’t have the success you’ve had at this university without good coaches,” Huff said. “It’s my job to make sure all the puzzle pieces fit together so that we can build on the success this program has already had.”

After starting his collegiate playing career at Hampton University as a walk-on and ending it as a captain for the Pirates, Huff began what has been a 17-year coaching career that has included stops at several levels of college football as well as the NFL. Of course, Huff recently was the position coach for Alabama standout running back Najee Harris and worked closely with West Virginia native and Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban — who may know a thing or two about being a head coach after recently winning his seventh national title. The new Thundering Herd coach has had some strong coaches to learn from during his career, but Saban is on another level.

“The ability to sustain success is through consistency in approach, consistency in message and consistency in work ethic,” Huff said. “When you look at the Alabama program, the one thing that a lot of people will recognize is the sustained success. Coach Saban has instilled that in me. [Marshall] is not a rebuild. This is a program that has had success.”

Huff was asked about what offense he plans to run with the Thundering Herd and answered in a way that came off as light-hearted but also to the point.

“The one that scores,” Huff said.

The plan is for Marshall to somewhat mimic what has worked so well for Alabama.

“In today’s game you have to have a quarterback, and really you need two,” Huff said. “When Noah loaded his ark up, he didn’t put one quarterback on the boat he put two. You’ve got to have that.

“We are going to be similar to how we were at Alabama. We’re going to combine the RPO [run-pass option] game so we’re going to stretch the field on all three levels both vertically and horizontally. We’re going to mix in the RPO but we’re also going to add the NFL, pro-style drop-back pass. I think it puts defenses in a bind. It creates headaches for defensive coordinators, and it produces a fun brand of football for the players and the fans. I think everybody likes when the scoreboard goes up in our favor. You can’t win the game if you don’t score. If you’re not trying to score then why are you playing?”

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Tom Bragg covers WVU, Marshall, high schools and other sports for West Virginia Sports Now. Tom spent more than a decade as a sports journalist based in West Virginia covering high school, college, youth and professional sports for newspapers in Huntington, Fairmont and Charleston before joining WVSN in 2020. Tom is a graduate of Marshall University's W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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