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Heater preaching effort, cohesion

The Parthenon

Published: Friday, March 29, 2013

Updated: Friday, March 29, 2013 00:03

With football’s spring practice window underway, Marshall University’s new defensive coordinator, Chuck Heater, will have an opportunity to shape and coach his squad leading into the summer.

Heater is taking over for former defensive coordinator Chris Rippon, who left the team in November after three seasons with the team. In Rippon’s final season, the defense allowed 43 points per contest after suffering injuries and losing talent such as Vinny Curry and Omar Brown to the NFL.

With over 35 years of coaching experience, including two recent national championships with Florida, Heater will hope to bring a proven track record to the Thundering Herd.

At least one defensive player is already excited to play for Heater. Defensive lineman Jeremiah Taylor said Heater’s experience is a big selling point.

“I love him,” Taylor said. “He comes in and you take him serious right off the bat because you see him and the places he’s been and what he’s accomplished. You’ve got to respect things like that, and we love him.”

After the championship stops at Florida, Heater followed former Gator defensive coordinator Steve Addazio to Temple and served as defensive coordinator with the school. He was named to Marshall’s staff in January.

Heater said he chose to come to Marshall because of his familiarity with Head Coach Doc Holliday, who also coached with Heater before coming to Marshall.

“Doc was the reason I came to Marshall, because I know Doc and I’m at a stage in my career where I like working for people that I know if I have a choice to do so,” Heater said. “I thought it was an opportunity to come and maybe do something good.”

Heater and the team made moves by tackling the recruiting trail and bringing in his type of players before spring practice began. The Herd signed 13 defensive players for next season, and four of the defensive signees were ranked 4-star talents by ESPN.

In terms of his philosophy for spring and beyond, Heater said he hopes he can help the players achieve more through coaching and that he also wants to win as a solid unit.

“I feel like if we are equal in talent and everyone can play — I hope we can go out there and play good defense,” Heater said. “I like to think that coaching can give you an edge, but it’s unknown. Certainly our objective is to go out there and play good defense. If we do that we will get good results at Marshall, because we are trying to win as a team.”

With spring practice ending in late May, Heater will be hoping the team can make strides and rush into the fall season.

Kyle Gibson can be contacted at


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