HUNTINGTON - Marshall's new defensive coordinator probably won't be named until after the holidays - and most of the bowl season.
Marshall football Coach Doc Holliday said Wednesday that he's received plenty of interest in the job, open since former coordinator Chris Rippon resigned following the Thundering Herd's season-ending double overtime loss to East Carolina. But with bowl season heating up, Holliday said the process likely will continue into January.
"Right now, we have a lot of guys who are interested, who are excellent," he said. "Right now there's just so much going on with the bowls being played. So after Christmas when the bowls are finished up, we'll probably solidify that thing the second week of January or so."
The hire is a crucial one for the Herd, which finished 5-7. Marshall's offense scored 40.92 points per game, eighth-best in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Its defense allowed 43.08 points per game, 119th in the FBS. That new coordinator, Holliday said, will be someone who has that job now or had it in the past.
"We'll name a coordinator here that's had previous coordinator experience or who is a coordinator now who's been very successful," he said.
That new hire will get some athletic, talented players, Holliday said. He'll have to solve the conundrum of the growing number of high-scoring offenses. More than a third of FBS schools - 43 out of 120 - allowed at least 30 points per game in 2012. Holliday is looking for a coordinator well versed in both fundamentals and stalking the quarterback. Marshall was tied for 85th last season with 1.58 sacks per game.
"We want to be very aggressive defensively," he said. "We want a guy in here that's very technique-sound and fundamentally sound. We're going to have some players and we'll be fine. Right now, what we're seeing around the country, you have to be able to put pressure on the quarterback, whether it be three down (linemen) or four down."
While Marshall's defensive coordinator office remains empty, Holliday said that hasn't hindered his coaches on the recruiting trail.
"I don't think it's affected us," he said.
"They know we'll hire a great guy and we'll hire a guy who's very qualified. They have confidence that'll happen."
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THE HERD actually picked up two mid-year junior college signees Wednesday that will help fortify its defense. Taj Letman, a safety from Holmes Community College in Mississippi, and Arnold Blackmon, a defensive end from Navarro College in Texas, both signed letters of intent.
Letman, originally from Elberton, Ga., missed the 2012 season at Holmes with an injured finger, and will have three years of eligibility at Marshall. As a freshman in 2011, he recorded 59 tackles and broke up 10 passes as a free safety.