HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—Defensive coordinator Chuck Heater had a little extra time during the bye week and decided to role out a new defensive package that caused confusion and frustration for the UTSA offense.
In passing situations, Heater’s defense didn’t have any down linemen across the line of scrimmage. Usually James Rouse would line up over the center for guard with his hand down on the ground. Today, he was bouncing around from “A” gap to “B” gap back to a linebacker position. The same could be said for the other six guys in the box.
“We’ve had it,” said Heater after Marshall’s 34-10 win over UTSA. “Coach Cronin likes that deal and we’ve done it before so we had an extra week and thought we’d see if the guys liked it and they did.”
Players who usually line up in a three-point stance instead got to rush out of an upright, two-point look and seemed to get more pressure on quarterback Eric Soza, which was the entire point.
“We’re hoping to give them problems in identifying who they’re blocking in pass protection. People are moving around and everybody is a linebacker, but everyone has rules for who is a d-lineman and a linebacker. When you surprise people it really bothers them.”
Marshall registered five sacks on the day and limited UTSA to 4-of-14 on third down conversion attempts.
“We though we’d use in certain situations and we’ll see the film and see how effective it was.
The initial feeling after the game was it worked quite well. The confusing alignments also allowed Marshall to swat down passes and force three UTSA interceptions
“We felt like it was going to be a great challenge and we were happy to get out of here today with that result,” said Heater.