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Chuck Landon: MU team undergoes significant remaking

Mar. 27, 2013 @ 12:41 AM

Changes, changes, changes.

Everywhere I looked at Marshall's first spring football practice Tuesday at Edwards Stadium that's what I saw.

There was offensive coordinator Bill Legg coaching the quarterbacks. That was a curious change since Legg spent all but two of his previous 25 years of collegiate coaching tutoring either the offensive linemen or tight ends.

Then, down on the defensive end of the field there was new defensive coordinator Chuck Heater working with the secondary. Heater coaching the entire secondary is also a change. During head coach Doc Holliday's previous three years, he split the secondary between a cornerbacks coach and safeties coach.

But, now, one guy is in charge of the entire secondary and I believe it's a smart move. It makes it much easier to configure adjustments between the corners and safeties.

There were also several personnel changes in the secondary. The most notable change is moving D.J. Hunter from strong-side linebacker back to his true position -- strong safety. Don't be surprised if Hunter has a tremendous season now that's he playing the right position.

Hunter's backup at strong safety was also a change. A.J. Leggett, who was the crown jewel of the 2012 recruiting class, was moved from cornerback. This also should prove to be a productive move because Leggett's lack of high-end speed is more suited for a safety position.

Meanwhile, Corey Tindal, who had been recruited as a free safety, also changed positions. The former academic non-qualifier made his Herd debut Tuesday at cornerback. That, too, seems like a good move considering Tindal has a reputation for being a ball-hawk.

Shifting the gaze back to offense, there was former safeties coach Todd Hartley coaching on the other side of the ball. The likeable Hartley was mentoring Marshall's tight ends on Tuesday. He also has succeeded the departed JaJuan Seider as the new recruiting coordinator.

Of course, it would be nice if Hartley had a few more scholarship players to coach. But there were only Eric Frohnapfel and Stefone Grace, since Gator Hoskins is sidelined for the spring. The fullbacks didn't help any, either, because Devon Johnson and Ryan Reidel are both injured, too.

But, at least, Hartley had someone to commiserate with, thanks to Alex Mirabal. Marshall's new offensive line coach also was missing some key players such as starting left tackle Jordan Jeffries and valuable swing man Cam Dees.

That wasn't the case for another new coach, however. Thomas Brown, who replaced Seider as running backs coach in yet another change, had the full complement of Kevin Grooms, Steward Butler, Remi Watson and Essray Taliaferro.

Much the same was true for new wide receivers coach Mike Furrey. ... yes, another change. He was missing Davonte Allen, who was wearing a boot on his right foot, but Furrey had the former Penn State duo of Shawney Kersey and Devon Smith on the field.

Another wideout who was missing, however, was Angelo Jean-Louis. It turns out the prized recruit is an academic non-qualifier.

Then, there were the linebackers. Besides having a new coach in Adam Fuller, such newcomers as Kent Turene and Stefan Houston quickly caught my eye at the weak-side and strong-side positions respectively.

Like I said, changes and more changes.

Why, there were so many changes I came home and checked under my sofa cushions.

Figured I'd find some change.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or clandon@herald-dispatch.com.



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