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Marshall's new defensive line coach refuses to be weakest link

By Nathan Hague
Aug. 20, 2017 at 4 a.m.

Anthony Randle

Marshall new defensive line coach Anthony Randle isn't about to let offenses roll through his defensive line.

"I'm real big on you're only as good as your weakest link," Randle said. "I don't want anybody to watch film and say, 'Hey that guy right there, we can go after that guy.' I don't want that. I take that personally. It makes me feel embarrassed."

Marshall head coach Claude Mathis has all the confidence in the world when it comes to Randle.

"He is not going to let his group be the weakest link, I tell you that right there," Mathis said. "They practice hard every single day. He's all about perfection."

The coaches believe that going up against Division I athletes on the offensive line can only help improve the defensive line.

"That's the good thing about all this," Mathis said. "The places I've been in the past, we've always been able to go up against top-notch players and those top-notch players are going to make you a top-notch player when you go up against them every single day."

Randle fully expects that experience to help throughout the season.

"It does help, especially going against his (offensive line coach Charles Williams) crew because they're big and massive," Randle added. "We're not as big as they are so we have to use what God gave us, which is our speed and technique to help us be successful. They won't be like, 'Oh my gosh, fee-fi-fo-fum, where did you come from?'

"My expectation for the defensive line is to do the best they can, to help us be victorious every week throughout the season," Randle continued. "That's my expectation for doing our job up front, which is to stop the run and drop the quarterback in the pass, make them one-dimensional."

The defensive line includes Marje Smith, Rashard Jackson, Jay Hall, Omar Acuna, Marcus Jones and Joquan Bass. Randle said his team will go with a three-man front.

"We get it done by committee," Randle said. "We've got guys going in and out. Coach (Jarry) Poth and I work together. I was telling him we've got to have 10 defensive linemen to do what we need to do to make his defense be successful. We're pretty close to that. We've got about eight guys rotating in and out and they're doing a great job."

Randle added his offensive lineman have "wonderful" chemistry.

"They are a very close group," Randle said. "I feel very spoiled because I have great leadership from my seniors. They'll beat me out there. They'll be lined up and doing what they're supposed to be doing without me having to say a word. I'm just like, 'wow.' I feel very spoiled to have that. They're just taking care of business. They're all positive with one another and if someone makes a mistake, they're always uplifting.

"My D-line crew, I feel very fortunate that I have a great group of guys," he said. "They're very eager to learn. They're hungry. They're like a coach's dream because they do what you tell them to do. They're very disciplined and they give the maximum effort that I need for them as a group to be successful on the defensive side of the ball."

Randle hasn't always been a defensive line coach but said the transition has been a smooth one.

"I've actually coached linebackers and secondary," Randle explained. "To me it was easy because you're always saying, 'stop the run, stop the run, stop the run,' and your guys are always right there getting them off the ball. So it wasn't that hard of a transition."

Coaching with the Mavs' is Randle's first job in Texas.

"I came from Oklahoma," he said. "I'm originally from Weatherford, Oklahoma, an hour west of Oklahoma City. There's a college there SWOSU (Southwestern Oklahoma State University). I went to NEO A&M Community College, played there for two years, transferred to Pittsburg State. I played linebacker and defensive end."

He said he and his family like the area, as his son Brevin, is a junior linebacker.

"I like it a lot," Randle said. "It's my first time living in Texas. It's a new experience. My family is adapting real well. I tell the guys, 'Y'all don't understand, y'all have Applebees. Where I come from, we don't have Applebees. All we had was McDonalds. So it's a super upgrade."

Randle added that high school football in Oklahoma is no match for Texas high school football.

"It's like night and day," he said. "Growing up, we lived close to Burkburnett by Wichita Falls. We'd go down and play them to get ready for Oklahoma. We'd go down there and get our butts whooped around and then come up to Oklahoma and take care of business."

He's hopefully the Mavericks can take care of business in 2017.

"My expectations for the team as a whole are to go out and be successful throughout the year, play hard, represent coach Mathis and the rest of the staff well, work our butts off," Randle said. "I think we're going to be very successful this year. The sky is the limit. Our slogan is we're going to 'own it' this year. I feel very positive and very fortunate to be here with this team, the Marshall Mavericks and the staff. I'm just going to make sure I do my part as a coach on and off the field and helping out the team."

Mathis isn't too worried about that.

"He brings a lot of energy," Mathis said. "He's a veteran coach. He's coached at the collegiate level before. He brings a lot of leadership, accountability. He holds the kids accountable to every little thing. He doesn't let them get away with anything. We always say the little things can get us big. I'm not going to have to worry about that with him. He's going to make sure the little things help us win. He does not let up. He's a hard-nosed coach but he cares and loves these kids so much, it's not even funny."

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