Beginning With The End(s)

ENDS usually come in pairs. There never are more than two bookends. Generally, end tables come in twos. Why, I bet if Noah had included ends, they would have entered the Ark two-by-two just like the other species. The natural order of things involving ends simply seems to be two. Except at Marshall.

Although the Herd lists only two defensive ends, MU actually has three co-starters. It's true. Jonathan Goddard, Jamus Martin and Marcus Hairston rotate at the two positions.

And they couldn't be happier with the situation.

"That helps a lot," said Goddard, a 6-foot-1, 250-pound junior. "We should have done that last year, but we didn't. Now, when I'm tired, Marcus comes in. And when Jamus is tired, Marcus goes over there. We three work well together."

That was obvious during Marshall's 50-17 win over Appalachian State Saturday in Marshall Stadium. The three-man rotation at the defensive ends kept fresh legs in the game.

"You don't know how much that helps," said Goddard. "I always need someone else to come in, because I can go four or five plays and, then, I need someone to come in. Knowing that someone like Marcus or Jamus is backing me up, I know I don't have to worry about anything.

"I know I can come out. They're good guys. They do everything like I do."

Yeah, like turning in big plays.

Thanks to the rotation keeping their legs fresh, the trio of defensive ends combined for five big plays against Appy. Goddard had a sack for a 17-yard loss, another tackle for loss and batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage. Hairston recovered a fumble and nailed a running back for a five-yard loss on an option. And Martin excelled at stopping the run.

"We complement each other so well," said Hairston, a 6-3, 231-pound junior. "Jon is everything you want in an end, as far as an under-sized end goes. Me? I'm coming from being a running back with decent feet. And Jamus, he's a great run-stopper.

"Coming into the spring, we knew the defensive ends were really going to make some changes for this defense. And I knew when I wokeup this morning that something big was going to happen. I knew I was going to make some kind of play in the game."

He was right. The instant Hairston rotated in, he shot past Appy's right offensive tackle so quickly that quarterback Richie Williams, who was in the shotgun, took his eye off the snap and fumbled. Hairston recovered.

That explains why there is comradeship rather than animosity between the trio. They all play. And they all get to make big plays.

"It was a lot of fun," said Hairston. "I didn't have to worry about having a brain-lock from being tired. I knew the guy in front of me was going to get the job done. But I also knew he was going to get tired and pat his helmet one time and let me come in.

"I'm really excited that Coach Wilt (defensive coordinator Bill Wilt) set up the rotation like that. I think it's going to play a major role in this year's season."

It already has.

Now, it's just a question of which one of the three gets to conclude this column. How about a joint effort? Altogether guys:

The End.


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