"He's bringing a tough coaching style to our defense and in reflection of that, I think our players are starting to pick up off his attitude," the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Bazzie said. "That's a great thing. We've put our trust in him and he's put his trust in us."
At 60 years old, Heater admits he's no spring chicken. Yet he makes sure to coach with the same passion he had as a younger man working his way through the coaching ranks at Ohio State, Notre Dame and Colorado.
"This is a really hard game to play," Heater said. "I've always felt in coaching, that I coach defensive backs like offensive line coaches coach their players. You've got to coach them, got to drive them, got to have energy every day.
"Much more is accomplished with energy and enthusiasm than not. I'm not 30 anymore, but I'm still doing my job, and my job has always been that. Sometimes I have to have a conversation with myself to make sure I bring that."
Rising senior cornerback Derrick Thomas said that if anyone isn't enamored by that coaching style, it doesn't matter. He thinks it's the style Marshall needs right now.
"When you finished 100th or whatever we finished on defense, we don't have any say-so on how anyone can coach," the 6-foot, 181-pound Thomas said. "If he wants to coach hard, that's how he's going to coach and we're going to listen, and that's the only way it can go."
The Herd understands the road back to a respectable defense won't be an easy one.
It will take time and Marshall still has a few months to accomplish that before it opens the 2013 season.
Thomas said he can tell the group already is on the right track.
"I think we're a lot better right now than we were at the end of last season, to be honest," he said. "We've got a lot of work to go. We've got a whole lot of work to do."
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.