The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

November 2, 2012

Kickoff coverage gets Thundering Herd coaches’ attention

One of the things Marshall has been forced to take a look at is its kickoff coverage. After giving up returns of 97 and 98 yards to Quincy McDuffie in last Saturday’s 54-17 loss to Central Florida, the need for attention was obvious.

McDuffie was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week after becoming the first player in league or school history with two returns in the same game.

“Personnel is one deal,” Thundering Herd coach Doc Holliday said. “We have to get good people on there. We’ve made a couple changes personnel-wise. It’s like anything else, guys have to get in position to make a play and you have to make it. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen last week and we have to make sure that we get guys in there to make those plays.

“That’s what happens to you when guys get banged up and hurt. Your special teams will suffer a little bit because of it. We have to get the right people in the positions and coach the heck out of them.”

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Senior linebacker Devin Arrington limped off the field at the end of one of UCF’s scoring drives. In his absence, sophomore Deon Meadows filled in well.

The Smyrna, Tenn., native had seven tackles and recovered his own forced fumble.

Meadows’ performance proves true the adage that a player must be ready when his number is called.

“When somebody gets hurt, someone else has to step in and that individual will get a chance,” Holliday said. “Deon got in there and got the job done. That was great to see. He went in there and did some great things and he didn’t have any M.A.’s (missed assignments), which is important. He did step up and we’re going to have to ask some other guys to do the same thing.”

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Memphis, which visits Marshall at 2 p.m. Saturday, may be 1-7, but first-year coach Justin Fuente is happy with the way the team’s running game has produced in recent games.

The Tigers are averaging 140.2 yards per game on the ground, seventh in C-USA.

“A good running game travels well,” Fuente said. “It’s something you’ve got to have in order to have success, because it opens up so many other things. It helps you in so many other phases of the game.”

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