CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- RANDOMLY strung-together items from Marshall spring practice and beyond:
His move to linebacker last year was probably the right one, though it came a week late. He was the starting nickel in the 69-34 debacle at West Virginia, after which the defensive coaches wised up and moved him to strong-side linebacker.
Weighing maybe 200 pounds after going for seconds, Hunter was nonetheless the best linebacker on the field, and at times the best defender on the field.
He would have succeeded long-term, I believe, but the move back to the secondary is the obvious one.
"D.J. did some good things athletically for us," said coach Doc Holliday. "This package is a little bit different from what we were a year ago. We'll probably be playing with a little bit more five and six defensive backs at times. When you do that, you stand back and don't have D.J. sitting on the bench watching. So you want him in there playing.
"At that safety position, you won't come out. We'll substitute for linebackers in certain situations, in certain packages."
When he successfully learns his old-but-new position, his linebacker days will certainly help him. And he can move down in a pinch, and it appears new coordinator and secondary coach Chuck Heater is taking that into account.
"It's going to help him, as far as his physical-ness is concerned," Holliday said. "He's still a linebacker at times, when you watch out there. Just because he's got 'strong safety' beside his name, he's going to get dropped down into that box quite a bit. So that experience he had playing in the box is going to be valuable, because he's going to there at times from the safety position."
An example of the latter: center Cam Dees.
It's a tough, tough break to see the rising sophomore in a red "no contact" jersey this spring. On the offensive line, you can do so much non-contact work and Dees needed the seasoning.
With all other minor candidates long gone, that has brought newcomer Tyler Combs into the backup center role. So now the Louisa, Ky., native not only has to overcome a year of nonqualifier inactivity, he has to master the shotgun snap.
Let's put it this way: Someday he will look back on the previous week and laugh. We hope.