HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Chris Rippon is a frequent post-practice interview request because his quotable response-to-question ratio is higher than the rest.
Ask one question and a sportswriter can fill three or four minutes of space on his or her voice recorder.
The veteran football coach, who is Marshall's defensive coordinator, obliges requests and delays his post-practice sprints so he can regale and reminisce. He is usually there long after players have hit the showers and Coach Doc Holliday and other assistants have disappeared into the Shewey Building for late-night film study and their other myriad responsibilities.
After one Herd spring practice, Rippon was posed this question: How does Marshall replace Vinny Curry?
Rippon, his eyes concealed by his trademark Ray-Ban sunglasses, crossed his arms and looked down at the Edwards Stadium turf. The response wasn't immediate, as if his brain was sorting through 30 years of experiences for a similar scenario.
The man of many words finally had an answer.
"You don't," he said.
(Related blog post: WVU's Bruce Irvin before Marshall's Vinny Curry?)
Marshall's annual Green-White spring game is at 2 pm. Saturday at Edwards Stadium, and fans will get a glimpse of the Curry-less Herd.
Rippon and his coaching cohorts have two unenviable tasks in replacing the NFL-bound Curry.
One is to replace the production of Curry, who ranked among the national leaders in tackles for a loss (22), sacks (11) and forced fumbles (seven) as the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Curry, a New Jersey native like Rippon, also became a team captain and the face of the program as a senior last season.
"In Vinny we had a marquee guy," Rippon said. "Two years ago it was (linebacker) Mario Harvey and then it was Vinny Curry.