Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MARSHALL FOOTBALL ; Versatile Dozier Earning Respect

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MARSHALL FOOTBALL ; Versatile Dozier Earning Respect

Article excerpt

HUNTINGTON - No. 90 on defense was a common sight in Marshall's 10th spring practice Tuesday, even more than it was in the first nine workouts. That's because the man who wears that jersey, Damien Dozier, probably took more reps than everybody. He ran with the first and second teams on many full-team plays at his new position, strong-side linebacker.

And he took some plays at his original position, defensive end.

There are generally two reasons for being double-shifted in practice - one is a manpower shortage and another is a desire by coaches to find the best place to get a player on the field.

When it's the latter, that's respect, and Dozier is earning his.

"He's been a talented guy, and we've tried to find a way to get him involved in the game, said Thundering Herd coach Doc Holliday. "He does a really good job rushing the passer. You've seen him some at Sam' backer, you see him in different three-down packages.

At "Sam, Dozier could replace the speedy D.J. Hunter. Or he could be a fourth end, filling out a chart that includes Gary Thompson, Blake Keller and Ryan Bee.

Then again, the Herd could do well enough with Ty Tyler and/or Milan Lanier backing up at end. Perhaps that is MU coaches' preferred scenario, though it's still a long way to the Herd's Sept. 10 opener against Morgan State.

Dozier, the 6-foot-4, 207-pound redshirt freshman from Raleigh, North Carolina, would be fine with it.

"I think it was last week, Tuesday, he said. "I was in the locker room a little early, and Coach came up to me and said, We're going to teach you some Sam, and try it out today.' And I was excited, because that's what I played in high school.

Herd coaches are trying to get the best players on the field. If Dozier has the football IQ to go with his athletic ability, that's a potential jackpot mix.

"He's got tremendous athletic numbers, said linebackers coach Adam Fuller. …

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