The Herd offense should get a boost with an improved offensive line.
"This is the first time since I've been the head coach that I also think our offensive line can be a strength,'' Holliday said.
"To be a good offense we had to play at an up tempo every game last year. When we slowed things down we got out of synch and we weren't quite good up front. I think to be a great offense we have to be able to change tempos. We've got to be able to slow it down at times to help our defense a little bit. I think the offensive line being a strength now can help us do that.''
Holliday said the offensive line should be fresh during key stretches late in games.
"[Offensive line coach] Alex [Mirabal] thinks he has 10 offensive linemen and as many as 12 that can actually go play and function in a game,'' Holliday said. "I think that's huge.''
Conference USA will have a new look this season.
Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist and Central Florida are leaving for the American Athletic Conference. Those schools are being replaced this summer by Middle Tennessee, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Texas-San Antonio, Charlotte and Old Dominion.
"I look at the conference right now and it's going to be a better fit for us,'' said Holliday. "I think the conference is in great shape. We lost a few teams, but Louisiana Tech was pretty good last year. They beat a bunch of people.
"Middle Tennessee, didn't they beat Georgia Tech a year ago? Some of these teams that we've brought in have won some big, big games. Pull up North Texas' facilities, they're unbelievable. [North Texas coach Dan McCarney] can get in a car and drive to Dallas. There's not a more fertile recruiting ground in America. The same thing with [Texas-San Antonio coach] Larry [Coker] in San Antonio.
"Look at the recruiting base at Old Dominion and the Tidewater area [in Virginia]. There's not a state in America that has more talent than Louisiana does, and Louisiana Tech is sitting right there in the middle of it.''
Holliday said the new league makeup will also be more fan friendly.
"Our fan base now has got four or five games where they can get in a car and drive to,'' he said. "A year from now we're going to be talking about getting into a car and driving to Middle, Western Kentucky, Charlotte and Old Dominion.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.