The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

September 4, 2013

Thundering Herd defense looking much improved

BECKLEY — So far, so good.

Marshall’s defense will be scrutinized all season after its abysmal showing in 2012. Last Saturday’s 52-14 win over Miami (Ohio) in the season opener will go a long way in making people forget all about that.

The Thundering Herd (1-0) held the RedHawks to 239 total yards and nine first downs. Like the offense, which went the first 18 minutes without a first down, the defense took a while to develop.

Miami quarterback Austin Boucher completed his first eight passes, including a pair of bombs that set up each of the team’s two touchdowns. The RedHawks gained 184 yards in the first half, which ended with the score tied 14-14.

“(It came down to) everybody coming together, knowing that Coach (defensive coordinator Chuck Heater) made a game plan,” junior linebacker Neville Hewitt said. “We just made adjustments to what they were doing. We really didn’t know much about what they were doing, coming in. We made adjustments, forgot about the first half and just did what we were supposed to be doing.”

Once they did, the results were impressive.

The RedHawks were completely bottled up in the second half. Marshall’s defense not only kept Miami out of the end zone, but allowed just 55 yards and two first downs after the break.

Boucher suffered his first loss as a starting quarterback at Miami. He was just 2-of-14 after those first eight completions.

“We know him as a winner. He won in high school and he won (in 2010 at Miami),” Hewitt said. “We just tried hard. We run to the ball and play hard, and the chips are going to fall where they are supposed to fall.”

It was nice to see the defensive improvement, fourth-year head coach Doc Holliday said.

“I thought the defense played with a lot of confidence,” he said. “They’re playing well. We rolled a lot of kids in there. We have a lot of room for improvement and have to get a lot better for next week.

“I think it’s a good start on both sides of the ball. I’m happy about where we are, but we have a lot of work to do between now and next weekend.”

Hewitt, who came to Marshall from Georgia Military, tied with Jermaine Holmes for the team lead with eight tackles.

“I just gave it my all,” said Hewitt, who had 65 tackles last season at Georgia Military. “I know as long as I go hard, everybody else is going to go hard. I’ve just got to keep giving that energy for the rest of my teammates.”

Hewitt knows the defense will have to keep it going this Saturday against Gardner-Webb. Kickoff for the non-televised game is set for 6:30 p.m.

“We know we’ve got to come out and play better defense,” Hewitt said. “We’ve got a good defense this year, so we’re ready. We’re ready, man.”


Text Only
College Sports
  • 042314 trickett Mountaineers have benefited from incoming football transfers

    Recruiting in college football seems to get more and more attention every season. Websites like and stalk the high school sidelines and blow up potential recruits’ cell phones in search of the latest information. But there’s one important aspect that often goes ignored — transfers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU baseball pounds Terps

    The offense had 16 hits and sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out six as the West Virginia University baseball team routed Maryland 14-2 on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 22, 2014

  • Crutchfield not interested in Division I job

    You would think Jim Crutchfield would be a great candidate for a head basketball coach’s job at an NCAA Division I university.
    But the Clarksburg native keeps saying that he’s perfectly content in that role at West Liberty, a Division II powerhouse. His 10-year record there is an absolutely amazing 272-49. Significantly, 10 of those defeats came in his first year at the West Liberty helm.

    April 22, 2014

  • Stepping up: Kelly racking up wins for Lions

    Sundays have become red-letter days for Chris Kelly.

    April 22, 2014

  • Paul Popovich, now 73, wishes he were playing baseball today

    If you’re a longtime baseball fan, you may recall Morgantown’s Paul Popovich.

    April 22, 2014

  • Hiring an interim while waiting on D’Antoni would be an injustice

    The search for Marshall’s new men’s basketball coach remained in a holding pattern over the Easter weekend while the Los Angeles Lakers put off their decision on coach Mike D’Antoni’s future until this week.

    April 21, 2014

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Turnbull’s tenure dominates WVU wrestling history

    Did Oliver Luck really do a thorough job in deeply evaluating Craig Turnbull’s 36-year career as wrestling coach before firing him?

    April 17, 2014

  • WVU’s top football prospects working out for NFL teams

    As we draw ever closer to the NFL Draft, the prospect workouts for teams are picking up steam for former Mountaineers. Both running back Charles Sims and defensive end Will Clarke have a busy road ahead.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 millard Kickoff time set for WVU-Alabama

    West Virginia football fans can now start counting down to the exact minute, instead of just the day.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo