Aug 28, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – Monterius Lovett is a two-year starter in the Marshall secondary at cornerback. He’s a coach-chosen captain for Saturday night’s 2013 opener against Miami of Ohio, too.
What he wants to be, however, is something else.
“At the end of the season, I want to say, ‘No. 1 … we won a championship,’” Lovett said. “It’s something I’ve never been able to say, being a champion, not growing up, not here.
“It would really mean a lot to me if we can accomplish that. And we can do it if we take one game at a time, if we trust one another as players and trust the coaches.”
Lovett is nicknamed “Pacman,” a reference to his resemblance to former West Virginia cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, now with the Cincinnati Bengals. Lovett goes by “Pac” these days. All the Thundering Herd coaches and players call him that.
This week, he’s also called “captain.” He was one of four game captains named Sunday night by Coach Doc Holliday, who said Lovett, a redshirt senior from Tallahassee, Fla., “is doing the kind of things you have to do to have a better team.”
Lovett didn’t expect the anointing, although a start against the RedHawks at Edwards Stadium would be his 23rd in a Herd uniform. His only teammate with more career starts is redshirt junior center Chris Jasperse (25).
“It was a thrill and a blessing,” the 5-foot-11, 171-pound Lovett said. “I’m honored to be a captain to open the season. It means Coach trusts me, so I just have to go out there and represent my team well, go hard every play and give it my all.”
Lovett is one of the few remaining Herd players brought in as scholarship guys by former Coach Mark Snyder
. He’s been part of teams that have compiled 24 wins and two bowl wins.
“We’re better now,” he said … and Lovett said one way for the Herd to get where he wants – and they’re predicted by many to go – is through one word that he emphasized in his brief speech to teammates Sunday after he was picked by Holliday.
“Trust is one of the most important things,” said Lovett, who has five career interceptions and 108 tackles. “Coach can’t put a player out there that he doesn’t trust, because that’s going to affect the team, just everybody. Players don’t want to be out there with a guy they can’t trust.
“Trust one of most important things. You’ve got to be able to trust other players, got to be able to trust they’re going to make the right call, trust a player to do his job. Everybody’s got to trust everybody.”
To perhaps enhance that and create a bond on a Marshall team with plenty of talent and what Holliday said is “plenty of leaders, guys who could be captains,” Lovett recently gave the Herd a different kind of homecoming.
He staged cookouts at his home for his teammates.
“I thought about it, and it was like I really wanted to get everybody together,” Lovett said. “It’s like we’re just together at the stadium, in the locker room, in the weight room. I wanted something outside that.
“So, I thought a cookout would be good, get all the players to come over, everybody have a good time, together, just enjoy one another instead of only time spending time together in the stadium or locker room.
“I wanted us to do something outside of football. The whole team couldn’t make it, but a lot of guys were there and it was great. We got it done. I asked players to pitch in so I could go get all the food. My teammates deserve credit. We did it together.”
Lovett – he earned his MU bachelor’s degree last December -- and his mates in the secondary have expressed unbridled enthusiasm to play new coordinator Chuck Heater’s defensive scheme, which is rooted in man coverage – as opposed to the zone favored by former coordinator Chris Rippon.
Of course, that exposes the corners, too, especially if the Herd can’t generate pressure on the quarterback from somewhere.
“It’s been a lot different this spring and in camp,” Lovett said. “We take a lot of coaching from Coach Heater, and he knows a lot, been everywhere. He’s taught us a lot about technique in playing man, and that’s one of the most important things when you’re playing man.
“There’s a lot of ‘strain’ every play when you’re playing man, a lot of pressure. My legs have been really dead (after practices) in this camp, but I really like it. It’s a whole lot of pressure on cornerbacks most of the throws, and if one goes over your head, it’s all on the cornerback.
“You can’t expect the safety to be there to help you if you’re playing man. It’s a lot of pressure, but at the same time, I’m not looking to get beat over my head. If it happens, at corner out there by yourself, I’m going to put that play behind me and worry about the next play. That’s all you can do.”
Lovett said his five seasons (redshirted in 2009) with the Herd “don’t seem like that long. It only seems like I’ve been here two years, honestly. It went by really, really fast. It’s hard to believe every game I play will be one closer to my last college football game.”
“Pac” is hoping to savor something special in his last time around with the Herd, too.
“That’s a dream,” Lovett said when asked about the Herd’s potential setting a successful tone for the future. “We’ve got a lot of seniors, about 20, and a lot of juniors who have played a lot of ball, some sophomores, too, and now freshmen stepping up.
“It would really be something I’d be really proud of, and something I’d never forget.”