Defensive lineman James Rouse said many of the things the defense sees with ECU on film, including the plethora of weapons the Pirates have, are things it sees on the practice field when it lines up against quarterback Rakeem Cato, receiver Tommy Shuler and the rest.
"They do add tempo every now and then," Rouse said. "They run a lot of spread like our offense runs the spread, so there's really a lot of similarities there. So it's good that we see that every day in practice."
Defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said his unit's ability to cut its teeth against Marshall's offense has been a big boost on its path to improvement. The Herd has gone from allowing 43.1 points per game in 2012 (123rd nationally), to allowing 21.1 per game, which ranks 25th nationally. He thinks those lessons can carry over to Friday's game.
"We've gone through some growing pains in playing our offense," Heater said. "We realized that some things are better than other things. They have a lot of similarities, so it allows you put together strategies after you learn your lesson against some of our people. There's information there that's helpful."
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NOW IS THE time of year where, historically, the Herd gets rolling under Coach Doc Holliday. In Holliday's four years at the helm, the Herd is 14-4 after Oct. 28 and 9-0 after Oct. 28 in the confines of Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Last season - when the Herd went 5-7 - was the only one where Marshall has lost more than one game after that date. One of those losses came in the regular season finale to East Carolina, 65-59, in double overtime.
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.