Defensive Backs Poised for Success

Since the Mark Snyder days, fans have been wondering, and complaining about why Marshall defensive backs play so far off of the receivers. Game in and game out, quarterbacks would throw 8 to 10 yard passes, leading their teams up and down the field. The common answer to this was, they are young, and we need to get more talent and speed at that position. As that happens, that will change.

Since the Mark Snyder days, fans have been wondering, and complaining about why Marshall defensive backs play so far off of the receivers. Game in and game out, quarterbacks would throw 8 to 10 yard passes, leading their teams up and down the field. The common answer to this was, they are young, and we need to get more talent and speed at that position. As that happens, that will change.

Well here we are, getting ready to head into the 2012 football season. Coming off a successful season by some standards, but not by most Marshall fans' standards. The Herd finished the season with a winning record, AND on a three game winning streak, which included a bowl win. Still, the natives were more concerned with the blow out losses Marshall suffered to West Virginia, Ohio, Tulsa and Houston.

The numbers in those three games:

Tyler Tettleton – 22 for 31 for 282 yards and 44 points
Case Keenum – 29 for 37 for 479 yards and 63 points
GJ Kinne – 24 for 34 for 308 yards and 55 points

Not exactly numbers that defensive coordinator Chris Rippon likes to see.

So, going all the way back to when this all started, the common denominator coming out of each coaches' mouth was we needed talent. This year, that should not be a problem at all.

Returning at defensive back are guys who started throughout last season in Junior Monterrius Lovett, and Darryl Roberts. Both really came on strong at the end of the season, Roberts made the game ending interception on fourth down in overtime against ECU, and Lovett made a game changing pass breakup late in the win at Memphis to keep the Herd's bowl hopes alive. Also returning who got substantial playing time is Phillip Warren. The former Texas Tech recruit had a great run late in the season, and nearly ended the ECU game himself on that same fourth down play with a big sack, but was unable to finish the play.

As well as those three played late in the year, those aforementioned passing numbers still cannot be overlooked. One of the immediate spring answers to that problem will be Keith Baxter. The son of a former Marshall wide receiver of the same name, Baxter is bigger, and faster than the returning defensive backs and figures to get a long look this spring.

Once the summer gets here, even more help will arrive. Andre Scott, 5'11 inch prospect from Orlando, Florida could be as talented a player that this coaching staff has received at this position. The only thing keeping him from that is a guy by the name of A.J. Leggett. The highly regarding, and highly sought after defensive back from South Miami, chose the Herd over a plethora of highly regarded BCS schools. Standing at 6'0" and weighing nearly 200 pounds, Leggett should come in and compete almost immediately.

Others who should push for playing time are 2012 non qualifier Shawn Samuels, and recent signee Corey Tindall. Both are on campus and are good enough to play immediately if someone on the depth chart above them should falter. One thing of note however, although Samuels is on pace to be eligible, Tindall's status is unknown in regards to when he will gain eligibility, as he did not enroll until January.

As has been noted, Marshall begins Spring practice next Tuesday at 2:30pm. Currently all practices are open to the public. Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com throughout the next few days as we take a quick pre spring peak at a few of the hot spot positions.

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