Peek Inside Practice: Defensive Backs

In the sixth report from Marshall football spring practice, we spoke with defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo to get the lowdown in the backfield...

"These guys are all good guys, good people," Anarumo said earlier this week. "They know what they want to do in life. I've got good guys."

Those good guys begin with the most experienced of the bunch, seniors Chris Crocker and Yancey Satterwhite. Crocker (5-11, 190) enters his fourth year in the defensive backfield with a mind-numbing cache of game experience (as does Satterwhite). With Marshall's linebackers and defensive line both a bit on the young side, Anarumo's unit will be looked at to provide the defensive leadership on the field in 2002. "Both guys are seniors, have played a lot of football, and have won a lot of football games around here," said Anarumo. "We're asking for a lot of leadership out of those guys." Satterwhite had 69 stops in 2001, second best of those returning in 2002. Satterwhite's three interceptions (his most memorable occuring in the third quarter of the GMAC Bowl) led the team in 2001.

Crocker returns at the free safety spot in 2002 fresh off a All-MAC year in 2001. Of those returning in 2002, Crocker is the leading tackler. Backing up Crocker is the Rogers Beckett clone Moriah Anderson (6-2, 187), who possesses all the tools that Anarumo is looking for. Anderson only needs a bit more weight on his bones to be a very special player. "Moriah has stepped up," said Anarumo. "He's one of those kids who has a high motor. That has been a point of emphasis for him, to put some weight on. We anticipate from now until next August that he'll throw another 10, 15 pounds on. He's got great range, he's a tough kid. He should be the heir apparent to Crocker right now."

Satterwhite will hold down the right cornerback spot. Backing up Satterwhite are sophomore Renaldo Williams (5-9, 178) and Jimmy Tyson (5-7, 160). "Renaldo is showing flashes of being able to do some of those things," Anarumo said. "He just has to be consistent, finish out the preseason, and we feel we'll have a solid backup there." As for Tyson, Anarumo added," Jimmy is one of the harder-working kids. Was a good special teams player for us last year."

At the left cornerback spot is sophomore Roberto Terrell(5-9, 178). Terrell literally exploded onto the scene in 2001, proving himself a capable player after a minor injury in spring drills forced him to sit out. His game-ending interception against Youngstown State put his name in the memory of Herd fans, and Anarumo expects even bigger things from Terrell in 2002. "(Last year) in the spring game, we didn't know what we had. In the spring game last year, Roberto had a big game, had an interception," Anarumo said. Terrell only lacks game experience, compared to Crocker and Satterwhite. "The only way he's going to get that experience is by playing," said Anarumo.

Terrell is backed up by sophomore Willie Smith (6-0, 190).

The ringer in all this is Dorian Williams, a 5-8, 158 pound sophomore. Williams may jump into the spotlight and claim a backup spot at one of the cornerback spots before all is said and done. Keep an eye on him.

"Those guys (the backups), we told them in the spring that one or two of you have to step away from the pile and emerge as the next guy in the game," said Anarumo of the battle for the backup spots between Willie Smith, Moriah Anderson, Renaldo Williams, Jimmy Tyson, and Dorian Williams. "Who's it going to be? That's kind of how it was laid out to those four guys. And whoever it is will get most of the snaps going into the preseason. That's what we use the spring for."

Anarumo's unit possesses the two most-experienced players in the entire defensive unit (Crocker and Satterwhite), and will provide the leadership on the field. This is a big change from years past, where the linebacker corps was where the experienced players could be found. Anarumo knows this, and expects nothing but outstanding play from his seniors, plus he expects the sophomore backups to emerge as bona fide players at the same time. "That's where coach Pruett steps in and does such a great job," Anarumo summed up. " 'Hey, get them in the game. Get the young guys playing experience, because they're going to be playing for you next year.' I think that's a heckuva' thing that we do here."

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