Marshall football: Miami's Boucher back at quarterback
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Miami University quarterback Austin Boucher is a new face starting under center for the RedHawks ... sort of.
It's been a while since Boucher was Miami's starting quarterback, but it was a memorable streak. In 2010, he stepped into the starting role in the RedHawks' 11th game after a Zac Dysert injury and led them to four consecutive wins, including a Mid-American Conference championship victory over Northern Illinois and a GoDaddy.com Bowl win over Middle Tennessee State.
After spending the last two seasons as Dysert's backup, Boucher will be Miami's No. 1 signal-caller when the RedHawks and Marshall line up at 7 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).
Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said Boucher's lack of game experience over the last two seasons is no reason to ignore him.
"He's an unknown, but by the end of the season, he'll be pretty well known," Heater said. "He's a great player and must be a great kid to have managed the last couple of years the way he has."
Dysert was a pretty tough player to beat out, ending his Miami career with 12,013 passing yards, eclipsing Ben Roethlisberger for No. 1 on the RedHawks' all time list, and getting drafted by the Denver Broncos in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft. But even as a reserve, the 6-foot-1, 213-pound Boucher maintained the respect of his teammates, getting voted one of Miami's 2013 captains.
"He's had a lot of intangibles all along," Treadwell said. "It's not like just this year emerged. Even in his role as a backup behind the scenes, he's been a very strong leader. For him now to take the reins of quarterback, it's really just a nice ending to a nice story. He's waited for his time, but he's always been a leader."
For his career, Boucher has completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 1,278 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. He's attempted just 23 passes in the last two seasons.
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REDHAWKS DEFENSIVE end Wes Williams has a varied background, playing some linebacker last season due to some injuries. He has the frame to fit in either position, standing 6-foot-3 and 242 pounds.
Marshall offensive coordinator Bill Legg sees versatility when he watched Williams on film.
"I refer to him as kind of a rush backer-type of guy," he said. "He's kind of a hybrid guy. If you were in a 3-4 defense, he'd be an outside linebacker. You see a lot of those undersized defensive ends in college going on to the NFL and playing outside linebacker. That's kind of the mold he fits.
"He's not a 275-pound guy," Legg added. "He's lean, athletic and plays hard, a high motor guy and a great player."
Williams was tied for third last season on Miami's tackles list, recording 65, including six for a loss and 2.5 sacks.
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LEGG WAS in the Marshall coaches box for the 2002 Miami game, which featured some of the more memorable acts of the Herd-RedHawks rivalry. He just can't tell you much about the hullabaloo that occurred in Miami's coach's box.
"They were on the other end," he said with a smile. "I didn't know anything had happened until long afterward."
After Stan Hill scored the last-second touchdown to beat Miami, 36-34, the RedHawks' coaches' box was damaged, with a desk destroyed and chairs thrown through walls. Then-linebackers coach Taver Johnson took responsibility for the damage and was suspended. Legg was Marshall's tight ends coach in 2001 and 2002 for former Coach Bob Pruett.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at email@example.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.