He has spent the time since arriving in Huntington watching film and talking with other coaches and Marshall players. In watching last year's games, he didn't feel the defense was outmatched and should be able to improve. He'll stress aggressiveness, a trait Holliday said was among the most important for his new defensive coordinator.
"We like to play aggressively in coverages and like to be able to pressure and play tight coverage if we can," Heater said. "We like to be aggressive against the run. Philosophically, we want to force people to throw the ball and put people in third down situations that are manageable. We want to be tight in coverage and deny the ball."
That should make Heater and his defense a good fit at Marshall, said Temple defensive end John Youboty, who started with Holliday at Marshall, transferred and became an all-Big East second teamer this past season under Heater.
"He's an intense guy, like Coach Holliday," Youboty said. "He expects the best out of all his players and he demands the best out of all his players."
Heater wants to make sure each defender trusts the teammate playing beside him. It's trust that also brought him to Huntington. Knowing Holliday and the coach he is made it an attractive choice.
"There's a high level of comfort for me," he said. "I know where he's coming from and I know who he is. Sure the times will come when he'll have to ask the tough questions. But I know where he's coming from. It's all about solving problems."
He feels he can help solve the problems of Marshall's defense and help the Herd earn another winning record. He thinks Marshall is equipped to win in Conference USA, even with the changes in departing and arriving teams. It shouldn't be like when the Owls jumped from the MAC to the Big East and their conference schedule went from including Toledo, Buffalo and Kent State to including Cincinnati, Rutgers and Louisville.
"It's about winning," Heater said. "When you win, the sun shines a little brighter and the food tastes better."
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.