The back end can be very good, but be cautious in your optimism - strong safety D.J. Hunter is the only bona fide standout this minute.
There can be more, though. At corner, Darryl Roberts was much missed a year ago, when he sat out with injury. Keith Baxter is practicing without contact and Derrick Thomas is itching for a much bigger season.
"[Thomas] is a guy, if you're an NFL [scout], you're looking at him," Heater said. "He's got great size, great length, he's going to run fast. He just doesn't have very good tape. He played some at Penn State, played some here. Now the next step is, you've got to be a [big-time] player. He's done a nice job, he's aware of the things he's got to get better at."
That leaves the safety positions, where Taj Letman is playing on the first unit alongside Hunter. The all-redshirt (and all-red jerseyed) duo of A.J. Leggett and Andre Scott are paired in seven-on-seven drills, and are as competitive as can be asked at this point. What if they meet their recruiting hype?
OK, let's keep that excitement in check. Marshall's schedule has changed with UCF and Memphis going to the American Athletic Conference, but I'm not sure the 2013 schedule will be any easier on the Herd's defense.
Unless Heater fills all those holes.
With the Masters coming up and the Greenbrier Classic just 84 days away, a golf story.
Augusta National made headlines last August by welcoming the first two women to its membership, Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore. But did you know that Martha Burke, whose 2003 protest brought the issue to light, prowled the hallowed grounds decades earlier.
She did, if you want to stretch it.
Bobby Jones, the winner of 13 majors and founder of the Masters, was famous for his Calamity Jane putter, a club so beaten up that writer Charles Price once remarked, "It is the worst putter I've ever held in my hands. If a pro left it in a barrel of clubs in his shop at a dollar apiece, nobody would buy it."
I'll leave the history of Calamity Jane and Calamity Jane II to historians, except to note the famous frontierswoman of the late 19th century.
Her real name, after marriage?
Martha Jane Cannary Burke.
So Martha Burke has toured Augusta National several more times than I have. That's just wrong.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.