"It's hard to be a kid today," he said last week. "You just look out there at what's going on at these college campuses, I mean it just makes me sick - with the drugs and the alcohol, all the things that are going on that are just tearing this country apart.
"As coaches, at times we get these daggone kids, we're the first discipline these guys have ever had. They don't get it at home anymore. They don't get it in schools. They don't get it anywhere except on that athletic field.
"There's probably 70 percent of our kids that are from single-family homes. They grow up with grandma raising them, or somebody raising them. First time they're told when to go to bed, when to get up, when they get to class is when they turn 18 years old and come to college.
"It's a challenge that we're not only dealing with as a coaching staff of a football team, but everybody in the country is."
As you can imagine, the big, big boys of college football are better equipped to deal with this, at least as far as size of support staff goes - Holliday figures that the Alabamas of the world have four or five people on the staff who do nothing but tend to those issues.
Then again, less might be more. The staff in the Shewey Athletic Building is smaller, but players have better access to coaches, right up to Holliday. Over the years, a few players have cited such an atmosphere as a reason they came to Marshall.
"We've got us as coaches, and I'm glad," Holliday said. "That's what I love about coaching, being able to take those kids and get them to where they're supposed to be and get them living right and making great decisions, and winning football games. So it's all good."
This does not mean I am joining the chorus begging schools to pay football players a "stipend," which sounds harmless but will inevitably spiral out of control.
Those kids are getting paid, and are paid pretty well. They get tuition, housing, books, a meal plan, medical care, a well-supervised conditioning program, first dibs on class registration, the adulation of the community (if everything goes right) and, if they are blessed enough, training for a professional football career.
Have I forgotten anything else?
But here is where my free-market leanings kick in: By what authority does the NCAA - more precisely, its member schools - have to impede its players' making a buck on the side?
Then again, I realize what a circus the college football world would really, really be if Johnny Manziel's autograph-for-dollars sessions were fully open.
As the "Power Five" conferences prepare to seize college athletics over the world and top-level athletes attempt to band together, who knows what will happen?
And finally, a golf note:
Last week, Phil Mickelson told Yahoo! Sports he was going cut down on his schedule, which has included the last three editions of the Greenbrier Classic (or half of them, as we painfully know).
"I think that I'm going to have to factor that into some of my scheduling and maybe cut out 25 percent of my events in an effort to play at a high level when I do play, because I know that I'm not able to do it 25 weeks a year," Mickelson said. "Maybe I can do it 18 or 20, though."
The Greenbrier Classic remains in its Fourth of July place, three weeks after the U.S. Open and two weeks before the British Open. Good spot, I've always thought, but here's the kicker: Mickelson not only won the British, but the Scottish Open the week before. I'm sure he has a soft spot for the Scots these days.
So does Mickelson play three weeks in a row? I doubt it.
I'm betting we've seen the last of "Lefty" in our dear state.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.