HUNTINGTON, W.Va– “Fun” and “exciting” were two popular descriptions from Marshall’s defensive backs when asked about the secondary playing more bump and run coverage against Miami. The tight coverage was a foreign sight to Marshall fans who had grown weary of seeing 8-10 yard cushions on receivers over the last several years.
Saturday night defensive backs were mostly matched up one-on-one with receivers and more often than not, Marshall’s secondary won those individual battles.
“It was exciting just to know we could execute our techniques like were supposed,” said defensive back Darryl Roberts. “Playing man coverage all around is pretty fun.”
“I had a lot of fun and the whole secondary had fun. We were out there just having a good time making plays,” seconded Cory Tindal.
It is certainly more fun to watch. The corners were breaking on throws, giving Redhawks’ quarterback Austin Boucher only a small window to throw to. Marshall recorded six pass-break-ups in the game. Safety A.J. Leggett had two, Roberts, D.J. Hunter, Taj Letman and James Rouse were each credited with breaking up a pass attempt.
“As a defensive back you want to play man to man and bump and run so they can make perfect throws,” Roberts said.
If you think watching the secondary allow opposing receivers make catches in front of them, it has been doubly frustrating for the players. But now in Chuck Heater’s defense, they are getting a chance to use their athletic ability to make plays and to bring pressure on the quarterback. With the confidence the secondary can match up in man coverage, Heater dialed up different blitz packages to harass Miami’s quarterback.
“Everybody is doing phenomenal and it shows on the field,” praised linebacker Raheem Waiters, who had a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown last Saturday.
More man coverage and more fun in the secondary should translate into more wins as the season rolls on.