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Offense? Who Needs Offense?

We’ve heard it all before. “Offense wins games, defense wins championship.” “They can’t win if they don’t score.” On and on the old sayings go to emphasize the importance of defense when it comes to having a successful football team. However, those old worn out clichés are exactly what the Thundering Herd’s coaching staff is preaching to its defensive unit.
It’s no secret when Marshall takes the field in September the defense will likely be the strength of the team and relied on to keep a much less experienced offense in games, but that is a challenge that is being welcomed by defensive coordinator Chris Rippon. 
“I’ve been a defensive guy all my life and to be honest the offense doesn’t count,” says Rippon when asked about his defense possibly having to carry a little extra burden early on this season. 
“The reality is if they [the opposition] don’t score they can’t win. On the other side, if our offense can’t score, we have the ability to score [on defense],” asserts Rippon.
Nine starters are back on defense, including the entire secondary and each of those guys had at least one interception last season. Rippon says he doesn’t have time to concern himself with what is happening on the other side of the ball; he’s got enough problems to worry about with his unit, but believes his defense can carry Marshall to victory this season.
“We’re much further ahead than we were last year at this point. There’s a familiarity with the system. There’s a bond with the players and coaches that hasn’t been there in the past,” Rippon says. 
That familiarity with the system and bond that is developing with the coaches has enabled the staff to adjust and tweak plays and schemes coming into spring this season whereas at this point last year everything was brand new.
“We’re more intense. With one year in the system under our belts, we’re more comfortable,” says defensive lineman Vinny Curry. Curry decided to hold off on taking a shot at the NFL to return to Marshall for his senior season. The intensity Curry mentioned is evident in the way the unit practices and will ultimately play in the fall.
“We will play very, very hard and play very, very fast,” knows Rippon.
Rippon says offenses put people in the stands, and make the highlight reels, but defenses can make or break your season. It’s not so much if old adages like that are true, but if the players are buying what you’re selling them. From the looks of things so far this spring, Rippon has been quite the salesman.

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