Marshall's defensive staff begins a rebuilding project today, rejuvenating a unit that ranked 101st in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense and 119th in scoring defense in 2012. The group allowed at least 41 points in seven games last season and at least 51 points in five.
Fuller said defensive coaches watched every game from last season, not evaluating schemes, but evaluating players.
The staff now can spend the spring teaching both schemes and technique, pointing out what positives there were last season and using the negatives as learning tools.
"They're looking forward to redeeming themselves," Fuller said.
"We weren't successful on the defensive side last year, and we need to make sure they're playing with confidence. No matter what side of the ball you play on, you have to play with confidence."
The Herd's offense should be brimming with confidence after last season, one where it finished first in the FBS in passing yards per game, sixth in total yards per game and seventh in points per game. Quarterback Rakeem Cato was named Conference USA's most valuable player, while running back Kevin Grooms was named the conference's freshman of the year.
Yet confidence won't lead to complacency, Mirabal said.
"It won't even be an issue," he said. "That's an ugly word, complacency. We don't want to rest on our laurels."
Mirabal feels that once the Herd steps onto the field today, everyone will be ready to improve.
"I'm a firm believer that kids want to be taught and pushed," he said. "When you gain the players' respect and have the players' respect, they'll allow you to push them. Once we put on the pads and get on the field, we can take it to an even higher level."
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TWO PLAYERS from the 2012 roster won't be on the field today for practice.
Holliday told Marshall's athletic website that defensive tackle Marques Aiken and wide receiver Jermain Kelson have left the team. Aiken graduated and decided not to return, while Kelson left "for personal reasons."
Aiken was a two-year starter, playing in all 12 games last season and starting 10. He recorded 37 tackles, 61/2 for a loss and two sacks. Kelson played in 11 games, starting one, and caught seven passes for 69 yards.
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.