HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- When teams begin studying video on the next opponent, they don't need a program to match numbers with names.
No, they don't need no stinkin' names.
And they really don't need pen and paper to track the better players, because they become evident after a few clips. The best players tend to burn their jersey numbers in opposing brains.
So it is with Maryland's No. 41, Marcus Whitfield.
Whitfield, a 6-foot-21/4, 247-pound senior from Germantown, Md., is notable for both what he does and how well he does it.
Marshall's offensive players have seen a few formidable defenders this season - for example, Virginia Tech had six defenders on the second- and third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference list. Shoot, Whitfield is "only" an honorable mention All-ACC pick at linebacker.
But few defenders are utilized quite like Whitfield is. The buzzword around the Thundering Herd camp is "hybrid" -- the Terrapins list a 3-4, but one adjustment by Whitfield can turn that into a 4-3.
MU offensive linemen will have to contend with that next Thursday, as MU plays Maryland at the Military Bowl. Kickoff in Annapolis, Md., is 2:30 p.m., with the game airing on ESPN.
"They're really athletic, especially their hybrid, stand-up No. 41," said right tackle Clint Van Horn. "He's presented a lot of problems for tackles all throughout the season, and every game he has played in . . . the guy's standing up for a reason. He's obviously very active - he is a true hybrid, he's going to be more athletic than most of the guys on the defensive front.
"Preparation, you have to have it down."
Whitfield leads the Terrapins with nine sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss, as well as a forced fumble and a recovery. He was named the ACC's linebacker of the week for his three-sack performance in the Terrapins' 32-21 win over Connecticut.
A notable aspect about his nine sacks for the season - those total 90 yards in losses, a fairly high average of 10 yards per setback. That probably means a few quarterbacks have run backward in their futile attempt to evade him.