HUNTINGTON - Marshall kicker Justin Haig and punter Tyler Williams had 2012 seasons anyone in their positions would enjoy. Both ranked among the best in both Conference USA and the Football Bowl Subdivision in several categories.
Their mission this spring is less about the spectacular and more about steadiness. They want to build consistency in 2013, so that their rousing successes aren't matched by major errors. And now that both feel healthier than they did last season, they think their bodies will allow them to gain that stability in their games.
Haig's health problems were well known. After booting a career-long 45-yard field goal to beat Houston - while hitting a perfect squib on his final kickoff and making a big solo tackle on another kickoff on top of that - Marshall Coach Doc Holliday revealed the significant pain from back spasms that Haig was suffering.
He was in treatment three times a week and taking muscle relaxers and antibiotics just to play.
But Williams, a Football Writers Association of America freshman All-American, had back issues as well. Disc problems had him in pain throughout last season.
That didn't stop him from averaging 45.2 yards per punt, second-best in C-USA. It would have been ninth-best in the FBS if he had enough punts to qualify.
Haig said the offseason has done wonders for his back pain, which has allowed him to double down on conditioning.
"It's a lot better," the 5-foot-8, 188 pound redshirt junior said. "I feel a lot more energized and can do stuff in the weight room. The first couple of months or so, January or February, it was still lingering. I couldn't do squats and all that stuff. I feel a lot better now, so I can focus a lot more on kicking now."
Williams said he and the trainers have been working diligently to strengthen his back and core muscles, to hopefully work around the disc and get those muscles to help relieve the pain.
"Last season I went through the whole season with it," Williams, a 6-foot, 188-pound sophomore, said. "It's something your body gets used to, which I guess is kind of good and kind of bad. Definitely in spring it feels a lot better. I can hit more balls and don't feel like I'm torquing the ball with bad form. "