Right now, that extra corner in the starting lineup is Corey Tindal, a 5-foot-10, 175-pounder from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.
An all-Broward County defensive back as a senior at Boyd Anderson High School, Tindal originally signed with Florida International before spending a semester at Atlanta Sports Academy, enrolling at Marshall in January 2012 and sitting out a year as an academic non-qualifier. Holliday said Tindal's liveliness on the field has made an immediate difference to the defense.
"I like the energy he brings to the defense, number one," Holliday said. "He loves football. He just likes to play. He's a guy that needs to be out there because he likes to play and because of the excitement he brings to the game."
Tindal has a lot of energy to release, evident in the three pass breakups he recorded in the Herd's April 13 scrimmage. He said he's overjoyed that he finally can return to the football field after nearly two years away and he's happy he's able to contribute as quickly as he has.
"I just show I can come make tackles, make plays and bring more speed to the defense," Tindal said. "I think Coach Heater likes that, that I come attack the ball, take good angles and make good things happen out there."
Tindal isn't the only newcomer making waves in Marshall's secondary. Taj Letman, a 6-3, 183-pound transfer from Holmes Community College, has worked with both the first- and second-team defenses this spring. He had four tackles, including one for a loss, in Saturday's scrimmage and has shown a knack for making the big hit.
He likes Marshall's five-defensive back scheme and said there's enough depth and talent in the Herd's secondary lineup to rotate players in and out with no drop-off. He said it's been a process in learning the new defense, but that everyone seems to be picking it up pretty quickly.
"To be honest, we're head over heels with how fast we're learning this stuff," he said. "It's not us out there messing up all the time. It's just a blown coverage here or there or a blown assignment. I think everyone's bought into it. We want to balance it out a bit more around here."
The players admit they have a bit longer to go to become the defense they need to be. Both offense and defense landed some pretty good blows against each other in Saturday's scrimmage. Marshall's offense rolled up 546 yards, 449 through the air, and five touchdowns in 105 plays. The defense struck back with four interceptions, seven sacks, 12 tackles for a loss and four pass breakups.
Marshall's defenders say they want to earn the level of respect the offense enjoys around college football. They want to play their part in a winning program, after a 2012 where the defense ranked near the bottom of the FBS in points and yards allowed.
"A team is as strong as its defense," Tindal said. "A defense has to be strong. I feel a defense has to be the soul of the team if you want to go far. We have to take it to the next level with this defense."
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.